Movie Friday: I am the ANTIPOPE

For some reason I cannot fathom, there is an OLD story from the Telegraph with the most misleading headline of all time that is currently floating around the Facebook walls of my friends. No clue why it’s popping up, and why people who I generally know to be reliably skeptical didn’t bother to read the timestamp before hitting the ‘Share’ button.

The story is supposedly about a “dramatic shift” that the Pope made with regard to the Vatican’s stance on condoms. I covered this story when it was actually news:

Come the fuck on, Ratzinger! Condoms are only appropriate in exceptional situations? Apparently in the Pope’s world view, it is better for a woman to become pregnant with a child she does not want and cannot afford to raise than it is for her to protect herself during sex. It’s better for a man to become inextricably yoked to another person for the rest of his life than it is for him to use a piece of latex.

And why is it a male prostitute?

Not all sex results in pregnancy (and I thank my lucky stars for that fact), but there’s always a chance. Many people want to have a child, for whatever reason, and are in a position to provide for it. Using condoms, unlike implants or hormone therapies or other intrusive forms of birth control, do not prevent people who want to have children from doing so. It is a simple technology that harms nobody (unless you count sperm, which I don’t).

Whatever claim to some kind of moral insight or authority that the Catholic Church pretends to have is repeatedly undermined by the ethical stupidity that is repeatedly on display from the Vatican.

The Pope deserves no cookies for saying that an HIV-infected (male) prostitute MIGHT be okay to use a condom. That’s not a “shift” in anything. That’s just him continuing to be a gaping asshole.

So today’s video is in honour of Pope Benedict XVI (seriously… 16? Get some new names going on, guys!):

A bit of humorous absurdity to balance out the totally-not-funny absurdity that is the internet today.

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Well I’m gonna have to find a new job

If you’ve been following the #FTBullies controversy ridiculous hissy fit reasoned discussion by reasonable people (with reason!), you may have come across a number of people calling my credibility and motivations into question with regard to my refusing to grant any legitimacy to the meme that Freethought Blogs is a hive-mind that silences dissent. “Of course he won’t criticize them,” say the nay-sayers “He has too much to lose! He’s trying to stay on PZ’s good side! He’s trying to ‘move up the ladder*’!”

Well folks… they’re on to me. I need this gig. You see, being employed full-time as a researcher, playing in a rock band, and juggling personal and volunteer activities simply isn’t enough for me. I need to have people occasionally tell me that they like my writing. I need it. I also can’t live without the ~$60/month mega-haul that I get from being on FTB. It’s all part of a grand scheme I hatched 2 years ago, pretending to care about racism and other social justice issues in a devious plot to be included as a middling-trafficked site on a blog network that didn’t exist yet. You got me.

And now apparently my meal ticket is about to blow away: [Read more...]

Movie Friday: W. Kamau Bell

A lot of the discussion about racism is nuanced and requires not so much a list of “dos and don’ts” but a general approach that requires consciousness raising about issues that may fall outside your personal experience. There will never be a specific pattern of behaviours that makes someone a ‘non-racist’ or is foolproof in making sure that you will never offend anybody. Anyone searching for something resembling that is on a Quixotic snark hunt.

Then again, there are some things that are pretty clear cut:

The comedian, W. Kamau Bell, is a recent discovery for me but I’m loving his approach to examining racial issues through insightful critique and pedagogy rather than the tried and true (but, in my opinion, played out) method of comparing the way that whites and blacks drive and dance. He has a new show on FX called “Totally Biased”, produced by another legend of comedy, Chris Rock. It’s set to debut in August, so keep an eye out for that.

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Okay so this is just awesome

This morning I decried the culture of police abuse that allows individual officers to flaunt their authority at the expense of civilians. I also warned, in soothsayer-like tones, of what happens when you lose the trust of the people you were ostensibly sworn to serve and protect. I didn’t really think I’d find such an awesomely direct example:

An elderly woman got the last word after locking a police officer in her basement, and later suing the police.  Venus Green, who was 87 when she was handcuffed, roughed up and injured by police, will receive $95,000 as part of a settlement with Baltimore City. The city chose to settle the case instead of taking a chance in front of a jury.

In July 2009, Green’s grandson, Tallie, was shot and wounded. Tallie said he was shot at a convenience store, but police insisted it happened inside Green’s house and that the shooter was either Tallie or Green. “Police kept questioning him. They wouldn’t let the ambulance attendant treat him,” Green said. “So, I got up and said, ‘Sir, would you please let the attendants treat him? He’s in pain,'” Green said.

Green said the officer said to her, “Oh, you did it, come on, let’s go inside. I’ll prove where that blood is. You did it.” Police wanted to go the basement, where Tallie lived, but Green refused on the basis that the police did not have a warrant. “I said, ‘No, you don’t have a warrant. You don’t go down in my house like that. He wasn’t shot in here.'” Green said the officer replied, “I’m going to find that gun. I’m going to prove that you did it.”

A struggle ensued between a male officer and Green. “He dragged me, threw me across the chair, put handcuffs on me and just started calling me the ‘b’ name. He ridiculed me,” Green said. An officer went into the basement and Green locked him inside.

Stewart and Colbert approve

So let this be a lesson to police everywhere: don’t fuck with old ladies from Baltimore. They’ll fuck with you right back.

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Movie Friday: The Mysterious Mysteries of Paranormality

It is interesting (to me, anyway) to note the similarities between different kinds of non-rational belief, and the way in which they seem to hang together. After all, if you’re willing to suspend skepticism long enough to accept a Palestinian carpenter walking on water (at least when he’s not turning it into wine for some reason), why would you suddenly throw up the logic shields when someone talks to you about the big evolution “hoax” being perpetrated by a nefarious cadre of high school biology teachers?

In the same way, if you’re going to take the word of medical expert Joe Mercola when it comes to vaccines, then why would you think that psychics and tarot cards are nothing but silly superstition? After all, they both have the same amount of evidence supporting them.

Mr. Sharp knows what’s up:

At times like these I think that laughter might not necessarily be the best medicine, but it sure is a handy innoculation.

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Movie Friday: PG Porn

To cap off what was a ‘good news week’ (minus Monday, perhaps), I thought I’d showcase a couple of videos that don’t have any message to them whatsoever, but are just lulz-worthy. Don’t be fooled – there is no nudity or sex in these clips, but you might not want to watch them at work because a passer-by might get the wrong idea. Consider yourself warned.

I guess, if I were to stretch it, the part about the ‘big tool’ being not the proper one for the job could be a veiled reference to yesterday’s post. But it’s not. Also, I think Sasha Grey is pretty cool.

This one cracks me up too:

Oh porn. You are so silly.

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Movie Friday: DIY

Here’s a chance for you to make your own Friday movie.

Gender Commercial Remixer

Just take any two commercials, and swap the audio from the ‘boys’ commercial with the video from the ‘girls’ commercial (or vice versa). Hit ‘mashup’ and enjoy!

And then cry, I guess. If you have kids, maybe show this to them so they know how stupid advertising executives think they are.

h/t Radical Bytes

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