Escape: A Harrowing Tale of Fundamentalism and Freedom

I’ve been in an easily-distractable mood lately. I keep fussing around with books, picking them up for a few pages or paragraphs before tossing them aside and moving on to something else. I was afraid I’d never finish another book again in my life until I picked up Carolyn Jessop’s Escape. I didn’t even mean to buy it – I was there for Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven, actually, and decided I’d better look around for similar books written by women, because my reading list has unfortunately been skewing too heavily dude. Up popped Escape, and I said “Brilliant,” and placed my order.

Image is the cover of Escape, which is photo of Carolyn Jessop on a black background. She cradles a framed picture of herself as an FLDS teenager in her hands. She is a woman in her thirties with chestnut hair and blue eyes.

This seriously screwed up my already-precarious sleep schedule, and almost ruined my April Fools’ Day plans. [Read more…]

Really Terrible Bible Stories Excerpt: Biblical Family Values Parte the Thirde: Erecting Phallic Symbols

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Biblical Family Values Parte the Thirde: Erecting Phallic Symbols

(Genesis 35)

I would ask all of you who’ve ever giggled uncomfortably while watching Hindu priests oil up Shiva’s penis statue on the National Geographic Channel to pay close attention to the following section.

After Jacob’s sons pissed off the entire area by murdering a whole town full of dudes, then stealing all their stuff (including their women and children), the whole clan has to go. God tells Jacob to head back to Bethel and make an altar to him. So Jake makes everybody get rid of their strange gods, clean up, change clothes, and go. Traveling through the territories of all the cities who’d heard of their mass-murdering ways might have been a little fraught, but God jammed his divine finger into the terror centers of the residents’ brains, so they were too shit-scared to attack. How thoughtful (Gen. 35:1-5). [Read more…]

Moar Voting for Really Terrible Bible Story Illustrations!

You good people did me a solid and helped me select the most fucked-up painting suitable for my forthcoming book, Really Terrible Bible Studies. Thankees! Franchescini won, but it was a close-run thing, and some of you almost tempted me with your alternate selections. What, have you been talking to snakes in gardens or something?!

I need your help once again. I have found three excellent candidates for the really terrible Jacob family values. Which should I go with? [Read more…]

Really Terrible Bible Stories Excerpt: The Jacob Family Sexploits

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The Jacob Family Sexploits

(Genesis 29 & 30)

These chapters are absolutely X-rated.

Jacob, having been sent away to his Uncle Laban in order to find a wife and avoid being justifiably homicided by his brother, arrives at his destination, where he immediately begins to make a know-it-all nuisance of himself. While he’s busy telling professional shepherds how to herd sheep, his cousin Rachel arrives with another flock. It’s lust-at-first-sight for him. He proves his manly-manliness by rolling away the stone covering the well, waters the sheep, and then grabs Rachel and kisses her without so much as an “excuse me!” He then bursts into tears and tells her they’re cousins, as one does after manhandling a nubile young stranger (Gen. 29:1-12). [Read more…]

Really Terrible Bible Stories Excerpt: Biblical Family Values Parte the Firste: Sibling Rivalry

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Biblical Family Values Parte the Firste: Sibling Rivalry

(Genesis 25)

Abraham’s sister/wife dies when he’s only in his mid-hundreds, so he gets himself another wife, Keturah, who’s apparently considered a concubine. He has six more sons with her. Old Abe isn’t one for keeping the sons he sires with mere sex slaves around where they can compete with his darling Isaac, so he gives them gifts and tells them to GTFO, just like he’d done with Ishmael. Like many men who hate paying child support, he apparently doesn’t really consider them his sons. After all that effort making babies he doesn’t even want, Abraham dies at a ripe old age. Ishmael, despite being cut out of Abe’s will, helps his half-brother Isaac bury their Pop, but after all he’s been through, and the loyalty he shows at the end, who do you think God blesses? Isaac. Of course. Asshole (Gen. 25:1-11). [Read more…]

Cast Your Vote! Which Awful Painting Should I Use to Illustrate?

I’m torn, my darlings. I’ve got one really terrible Bible story: Lot’s daughters seducing raping him. I’ve got two paintings illustrating said seduction rape. I’m not sure which one will say it best. So tell me which I should use in my forthcoming book, Really Terrible Bible Stories.

Should it be Joachim Antonisz Wtewael‘s Lot and His Daughters: [Read more…]

Really Terrible Bible Stories Excerpt: Burn Your Boy for God

Burn Your Boy for God

(Genesis 22)

Any day of the week, you’ll hear Good ChristianTM people condemn the very idea of child sacrifice. Only savages and heathens and very terrible people would do that. Their God, these fine Christians say, is an awesome god who would neverever require such a thing. And these awful people who murder their children, then claim God told them to – why! They are definitely wicked or insane or satanic, because God would never tell them to kill their kids. [Read more…]

So Wrong… So Not Funny… But Entirely Hilarious!

I don’t often break into great gales of laughter. I’m usually not reduced to helplessness. There are few things that get me laughing so hard my stomach hurts, I can barely breathe, and I start sob-laughing. Usually, I can get through funny stuff with just a grin or a guffaw. I’m pretty restrained like that, especially when I’m alone and don’t have someone else’s mirth jamming its foot on my funny bone.

I can’t really remember the last time I lost it. It might come to me someday. I can tell you this is the hardest I’ve laughed this year, and I really feel like I shouldn’t. I mean… it’s not a funny subject. Not a bit. I’ve got to give you trigger warnings right now: if you’re at all squeamish about graphic medical stuff, if you’ve ever had a prolapse or been traumatized by someone else’s prolapse, this piece may not be for you. You may be permanently scarred. [Read more…]

An Informative Tour of Victorian English Women’s Struggles for Equality

Have you encountered an MRA spouting nonsense about how women lorded it over men in Victorian England, and need a rebuttal? Perhaps you’ve encountered Christian patriarchy advocates who are waxing lyrical about how good the ladies had it when they were under male authority, and wish to disabuse them of some ridiculous notions? Then you need to procure yourself a copy of Mary Lyndon Shanley’s Feminism, Marriage, and the Law in Victorian England at once.

Cover of the book Feminism, Marriage, and the Law in Victorian England.

This is a slender tome packed full of eye-popping information on how married women were treated by law in that romantic era, and their decades-long struggle to be treated as people, not property. She tells the story through a series of Acts of Parliament. If, like me, you’re a sucker for law drama, you’ll savor this method thoroughly. Even if that’s not your thing, you’ll encounter too many fascinating feminists in infuriating situations to care. [Read more…]

Did You Go See Fifty Shades of Grey? Planning To? Read On…

Nope. Haven’t seen it, won’t see it, meself. But I won’t judge you if you did, whether it was a hate-watch or a guilty pleasure. I’m just here to throw a few resources your way, provide a suggestion for salving your guilty conscience, show you where to find out what real BDSM is, and open up the thread to those who want to kvetch about it. [Read more…]