judgment

The Donald Trump Show (Basketeers)

Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks during the 2016 Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Candidates Forum in Washington, DC, December 3, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

This is a long problem in the political discourse:

If you follow Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight site, you already know that statistics suggest that if only women voted for president, Hillary Clinton would win in a landslide. Yet Trump’s female supporters are some of the most ardent folks on his side. He seems to appeal to women supporters as a candidate who will keep them safe and protect the borders from the bad hombres.

They don’t trust Clinton. And the endless stories about her emails don’t help build confidence with supporters of either gender. Yet when I ask for examples of what bothers people most about the emails, the answers seem to come directly from the Trump playbook. According to Trump supporters, the emails prove that Clinton is funding ISIS, ordered the massacre in Benghazi, is plotting to steal the election and is actually a pimp who procures women for her husband. “It just proves just how nasty she is,” one male voter told me.

When asked about the notion of breaking the glass ceiling by electing a woman to the White House, they all resoundingly said, “Not that woman.” Several women suggested that Sarah Palin, John McCain’s running mate in 2008, would make a great first woman candidate. “She is so much more prepared to serve than Hillary Clinton,” a stay-at-home mom from California said.

(King Collier)

It’s very nearly petulant, and comes in a variety of flavors. This time around it’s pretty straightforward: It is not that your voice does not matter; rather, forfeiture of reality simply does not constitute a middle ground. There is nothing we can do when the compromise point with conspiracists is granting the conspiracy theory.

And, frankly, it sounds like neurotic desperation, an excuse for supporting terrible people and ideas. The thing about self-indictment is that, for the most part, conscience will out; it’s part of being human. Relatively few of the infamously-designated deplorables actually celebrate their hatred; most of them try to find some way to believe they’re good people. We should find that encouraging; they want to be good. It’s just … I don’t know. This is the challenge. Pathos is one thing; self-imposed alienation is something else entirely.

____________________

Image note: Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks during the 2016 Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Candidates Forum in Washington, D.C., 3 December 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

King Collier, Andrea. “What are they thinking? Talking to Trump voters without judgment (and while black)”. Salon. 5 November 2016.

Advertisements

¿Normalization?

Naota (at right), tugs on the electrical cable rectally feeding a sex toy designed to look like his father (bottom), while MiuMiu the cat catches some rays. (FLCL episode 4, 'Full Swing')

This is a sentence that ought to thrill hearts: “America may be closer to a post-gay state of politics than most realize”. Alex Roarty’s report for Roll Call either begs certain questions or else desecrates them; matters of perspective abide.

The St. Jerome Fancy Farm Picnic is an annual showcase for Kentucky’s top politicians to give (they hope) a funny, sharp-elbowed speech at the other party’s expense. While they speak, hundreds of loud-mouthed partisans are encouraged to yell and scream as loudly as they can―as if the American political id was caged in a small pavilion two hours from a major airport.

U.S. Senate candidate Jim Gray (D) speaks the annual Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Kentucky, on Saturday, 6 August 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)“I want to introduce myself to Sen. McConnell,” he said, looking over to the Senate majority leader seated a few feet away, who minutes earlier had given his own speech. The Republicans, whose voices drowned out the sound of nearby thunder, chanted “Go away Gray!”

The candidate continued: “He earlier called me a ‘nobody.’ Well, let me introduce myself, senator. I am Jim Gray, and I am the guy who is going to beat Rand Paul.”

What went unnoticed this recent Saturday afternoon was that Gray was probably first openly gay person to speak at Fancy Farm. Records aren’t easy to come by for something that began in 1880, but veterans of the event say they can’t recall an openly gay speaker.

This is how Gray’s campaign has gone: He’s making history, and nobody seems to notice. Or, for that matter, care.

(more…)

Self-Diversification

Detail of 'Relativity' by M. C. Escher, 1953.

Melissa Dahl brings us the most unsurprising, least unexpected news of the week:

Embarrassing moments don’t have to happen in a crowd. Oh, no — you are perfectly capable of embarrassing yourself even when you’re all alone.

And, yet, think of it this way: Someone actually went and built a study.

This is not, however, as simple as it seems:

This idea may not sound so surprising, especially to those of us who regularly manage to make private fools of ourselves. But it’s a pretty radically different way of thinking about embarrassment for psychology researchers. Embarrassment has long been thought of as a social emotion, one that depends on your having an audience to witness whatever ridiculous thing you’ve just done. It’s long been theorized that the feeling of embarrassment alerts you to the fact that you’ve violated some social norm, so that you can course-correct and apologize if necessary, without losing your standing in the group. The social nature of embarrassment has been thought to explain the feeling’s physiological response, too – in particular, blushing – in that it alerts others to your emotional state. You know you messed up, and you are feeling properly awkward about it.

Except now there is this study, see, and apparently everyone is supposed to be confused. But it really isn’t confusing.

The key is to remember that the internal monologue is not a monologue.

Consider an idea: It is demonstrable that in order to share humor with ourselves, we essentially build a virtual other to simulate a sense of common reaction and experience. Nor should this be hard to grasp in other ways; it certainly explains much about the idea of a judgmental monotheistic godhead. Why should we not virtually judge ourselves; it seems a very human thing to do.

____________________

Dahl, Melissa. “You Can Embarrass Yourself Even When You’re All Alone”. Science of Us. 23 September 2015.

Adam’s Panty Bug

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 13 August 2015.Sometimes the idea of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is self-imposed. And among those occasions are some such that we needn’t wonder why. Nor should that be taken judgementally; I would no more notice the panties on Adam’s head than his girlfriend’s latest haircut. It’s just, you know, sometimes you wake up in the wrong place to be wearing someone else’s panties on your head, and, yeah, I suppose that can be embarrassing. To the other, though, this is one of those circumstances for which I have exactly no advice.

____________________

Huber, Adam. “Got My Mind on My Undies and My Undies On My Mind”. Bug Martini. 13 August 2015.

Faith, Juxtaposed

The front entrance of the Metropolitan Community Church of Our Redeemer in Augusta, Ga. that was vandalized overnight is seen Tuesday morning July 21, 2015. The Church's pastor, Rick Sosbe, and his fiancee, Michael Rhen, recently became the first same-sex couple to get a marriage license in Augusta-Richmond County following the recent decision by the US Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage. (Michael Holahan/Augusta Chronicle)

“To me, it seems so interesting that they’re saying on there that you’ll burn―in other words saying ‘You’ll burn in hell,’ I’m sure―and quoting scripture. Is that what Christianity―right-wing, fundamentalist Christianity―has come to?”

Pastor Rick Sosbe

‘Tis a fair question. And even the pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Our Redeemer must pause to check his tongue; quite clearly this is not what Christianity itself has come to. Still, though, Pastor Rick asks a fair question.

And here is another question: Many on the American political right wing rushed in the wake of the Mother Emanuel massacre to dismiss white supremacism and characterize the killings as an attack against Christianity. Would they be so kind as to condemn this attack against Christianity? Sure, nobody’s dead, and that’s all to the good. But in this case it’s a real, actual, genuine attack against Christianity, so … you know … Hello?

____________________

Sieczkowski, Cavan. “Church With Openly Gay Pastor Vandalized With ‘You’ll Burn'”. The Huffington Post. 24 July 2015.

Benen, Steve. “The Charleston massacre wasn’t about ‘religious liberty'”. msnbc. 19 June 2015.

Clarkson, Frederick. “Charelston Massacre an Attack on Christianity? Yes, But Not How the Christian Right Says”. Political Research Associates. 24 June 2015.

Prosperity (Devil’s Dollar Edition)

Creflo Dollar, in undated, uncredited photograph.

The thing about Sam Stringer’s report for CNN is mostly the idea of what it takes to get people to pay attention. To wit, there really isn’t anything new about the idea that this is how it goes:

Prosperity gospel pastor Creflo Dollar responded recently to critics of his campaign to buy a very pricey Gulfstream G650.

Dollar noted in a recent address to his congregants that the devil was attempting to discredit him in regards to his campaign seeking $300 from 200,000 people globally to help buy the luxury jet.

In a newly posted five-minute clip on YouTube, the Atlanta-area pastor speaks to his followers at World Changers Church International, tackling his critics and allegations about tithes, his real name and reports alleging members of having to reveal their W2 statuses to come into the church’s sanctuary.

“(The devil thinks) I got to discredit that man before he starts showing people Jesus!” Dollar preaches to loud applause.

“I’m on my sabbatical, and the enemy’s trying to discredit me,” Dollar stated.

Dollar is focused in the video on getting his point across and slams critics of his original request by stating to the people gathered, “I never one time came to you and asked you for a dime for this airplane, did I?”

But in March, Dollar did appeal in a video to “friends from around the world,” soliciting donations to replace his current 1984 Gulfstream G-1159A.

This is not some new phenomenon. Prosperity gospel is the new Calvinism, by which blessed are the wealthy and the greedy.

Christianity Today explains prosperity gospel as―

An aberrant theology that teaches God rewards faith—and hefty tithing—with financial blessings, the prosperity gospel was closely associated with prominent 1980s televangelists Jimmy Swaggart and Jim and Tammy Bakker, and is part and parcel of many of today’s charismatic movements in the Global South. Orthodox Christians wary of prosperity doctrine found a friend in Senator Chuck Grassley, who in 2008 began a thorough vetting of the tax-exempt status of six prominent “health and wealth” leaders, including Kenneth Copeland, Bishop Eddie Long, and Paula White.

Cathleen Falsani, explaining “The Worst Ideas of the Decade” for the Washington Post several years ago, called prosperity gospel―

an insipid heresy whose popularity among American Christians has boomed in recent years, teaches that God blesses those God favors most with material wealth.

The ministries of three televangelists commonly viewed as founders of the prosperity gospel movement – Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland and Frederick K.C. Price – took hold in the 1970s and 1980s. One of the oldest and best-known proponents of prosperity theology, Oral Roberts – the television faith-healer who in 1987 told his flock that God would call him home if he didn’t raise $8 million in a matter of weeks – died at 91 last week.

But the past decade has seen this pernicious doctrine proliferate in more mainstream circles. Joel Osteen, the 46-year-old head of Lakewood Church in Houston, has a TV ministry that reaches more than 7 million viewers, and his 2004 book “Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential,” has sold millions of copies. “God wants us to prosper financially, to have plenty of money, to fulfill the destiny He has laid out for us,” Osteen wrote in a 2005 letter to his flock.

As crass as that may sound, Osteen’s version of the prosperity gospel is more gentle (and decidedly less sweaty) than those preached by such co-religionists as Benny Hinn, T.D. Jakes and the appropriately named Creflo Dollar.

Few theological ideas ring more dissonant with the harmony of orthodox Christianity than a focus on storing up treasures on Earth as a primary goal of faithful living. The gospel of prosperity turns Christianity into a vapid bless-me club, with a doctrine that amounts to little more than spiritual magical thinking: If you pray the right way, God will make you rich.

(more…)

A Disturbing Lack of Faith

Bishop Richard Pates of the Des Moines diocese is faithless.

Tyler McCubbin said the Dowling Catholic High School president made him an offer for a full-time teaching position, but later revoked it based on his sexual orientation.

Bishop Richard Pates is the leader of the Des Moines diocese. He said that McCubbin wasn’t denied the job because he’s gay, but due to the openness of his sexual orientation.

(Smith)

This is what we call a distinction without a difference.

Bishop Richard Pates of the Des Moines diocese, a faithless usurper seeking an excuse to be cruel unto his fellow human beings.Bishop Pates apparently believes God’s judgment is his own, and generally speaking the idea is that these fake Christians are afraid God won’t be mean enough to the people they don’t like, so they want His authority and judgment for their own earthly pleasures.

A faithless usurper, Bishop Pates.

Back in the closet with you! Hide! Pretend! Lie to us for our sake! This is the face of love, in Jesus’ name! Amen!

____________________

Smith, Ryan. “Diocese leader speaks out on gay man’s job denial”. KCCI. 7 April 2015.

What Victory Will Mean

Detail of 'Tom the Dancing Bug' #1232, by Ruben Bolling, 2 April 2015, via Daily Kos Comics.And it’s Tom the Dancing Bug for the score. And the win, really.

No, seriously, just click the damn link.

Or the picture. That works, too.

And when you do, read. Understand. Get the point.

You know it’s the only way this can go.

____________________

Bolling, Ruben. “Lo, in the land of Indiana …”. Tom the Dancing Bug. Daily Kos Comics. 2 April 2015.

A Quote: Good Ol’ Fashioned, Honest-to-God, Real Holy Sh*t

And TV preacher Pat Robertson heard from a viewer this week who asked why her ailing husband's condition hasn't improved despite intense prayer: "Robertson responded that the woman's husband probably isn't a faithful Christian and may actually want to be sick: 'There are some people, you know, they enjoy their sickness. That is terrible to say but that is their excuse not to compete, 'well I'd love to compete but my lumbago's got me so I can't do it.'"

Talk about a gem. That’s a real quote. Then again, of course it is. This is the Pat Robertson we’re talking about. Brian Tashman has the brief on Robertson and the faithless, as well as the mildly uncomfortable video. And Steve Benen has the weekly roundup of the goings-on at the intersection of God and State.

Now, if someone could only point us the way to the intersection of Pat Robertson and Reality. Or maybe not; there are some things and places in this world we just don’t need to see.

“There are some people, you know, they enjoy their sickness. That is terrible to say but that is their excuse not to compete, ‘well I’d love to compete but my lumbago’s got me so I can’t do it.'”

Of course, he’s Pat Robertson, so, yeah. He knows. Right? Right?

(more…)

Less Unexepected?

We should not say it was expected, as such. That is, certes we’ve heard such things in the past, but one would think that if a stunt is laughed off enough times, people might realize it doesn’t work. Or perhaps that is simply the (ahem!) nice way of saying we would ordinarily expect such things except that we give people in general more credit than that.

Or, as Diana Buendia explains for WBEZ:

WBEZ 91.5 logoSome African-American clergy and conservative Catholics say they’ll ban Illinois lawmakers who vote for same-sex marriage from their churches.

About two dozen priests and pastors joined the Catholic Conference of Illinois to form a new religious coalition yesterday.

“We want to make sure that we a send a message to our elected officials that as a collective community and a collaborative, we will not allow you to speak in our churches, you will not be invited to our church when you’re running for office because we as a community are incensed,” said Bishop Lance Davis, senior pastor at a church in Dolton, who’s part of the group.

In a way, it falls within the realm of the obvious and expected; to the other, though, the problem with such a demonstration seems so obvious that it is hard to believe they are really—yes, really—attempting this stunt.

(more…)