A Better Place

We are a nation of dreamers: the grass is always greener, the air is cleaner, and some other neighborhood has a better demeanor than wherever we live. The island of misfit toys is where we exist, yearning for the better world of ‘if only.’ Our existential lament is rooted in the belief that a better place does indeed exist. It is the job of preachers and politicians to feed us that dream. They promise special knowledge and abilities that can guide us  to the better world of which they have expertise. The more every-day folk hear and see their claims of expertise, the more we trust them. Even absurd and impossible assertions become accepted into the lore of common place knowledge. Our shared construction of faith-based knowledge, be it virgin births or fake news is methodically introduced and repeated until it is the lore of the land, and thereby, impossible to disprove.

This concept of a better place is so real to people, empirical evidence carries no relevance. Justification, as a rhetorical tool, has little suasion when dealing with an adherent of a theology or ideology or personality-cult making the ‘better place’ argument. The truth of the ‘better place’ is irrelevant to a firmly entrenched opinion. No ‘better place’ needs to exist if adherents already believe that it does. The pragmatic, objective, empirical realm of thought becomes nullified when it relies on faith in ‘better places.’

So, when America is finally ‘great’ and Jesus returns, Hillary is locked up, immigrant children are toothless, dirty and diseased, and gays, Muslims, Jews and people of color are dead in hell, the evangelical white MAGA cis-heterosexuals will finally live in peace and harmony. Is this “better,” or “dystopian?”

No wonder the movies are full of post-apocalypse visions of the end of days. Evangelicals tell us to just believe in the Better Place and all will be well, while our common sense and intellect tell us the dystopian world of Mad Max, The Maze Runner, and The Hunger Games is more likely than a dream-heaven. Neither thought gives me comfort, in fact, visions of dystopian futures are almost identical to a Better Place ideology. Pessimism creates the landscape of the dystopian future place, but the battle for dominion continues as it always has in both futures. 

All dreams of a ‘Better Place,’ contain an ingredient that taints their success, humans. The human imperative to dominate and control is a corrupting influence. It leads to conflict and abandonment of ideals. Just look at the mulligans, absolutions, indulgences and the blatant abandonment of principles white evangelicals have allowed Trump. He is exempt from the moral influence of their own theology, so, in exchange, he will give them political power.  Evangelic disfigurement of moral guidance now permits them to cheat, voiding out their moral authority completely. No descent god runs this scam, humans in a self-made, end of humanity scenario incite this abomination. The Trumpian voice of the evangelic god now says, “Screw them. Give me, give me, give me.”  

A Gay Lifetime

  “The battle for gay acceptance will only be won after the conversion of Christians.” We are seeing the evidence of that accomplishment in the actions of two men today. Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Matt Easton, a Brigham Young University valedictorian are the first to recognize and cross the threshold of gay ownership of a religious home in the greater society of today. What makes their efforts ‘threshold crossing’ is the matter-of-fact honesty of the declaration and its accompanying ‘as we have agreed’ attitude. That attitude has a twist to it that makes it different from what all the gay activists prior to this moment in our political evolution have had. Gays are now walking through the threshold together with enough non-gay co-religionists that the distinction no longer has a difference. ‘God loves us all’ is the subtext of our ecumenical times. This time, ‘all’ includes LGBTQ+ in a full-throated way.

If you need more convincing, take a look at the eight teenagers in this year’s confirmation class at First United Methodist Church in Omaha, Neb. They read a letter of their own creation declaring they do not want to become members at this time saying, “we believe that the United Methodist policies on LGBTQ+ clergy and same sex marriage are immoral”! It is a fine kettle of fish when thirteen-year-olds must instruct the Methodist hierarchy as to what is moral. 

When the time is right the cherry trees will blossom. Mayor Pete’s rebuttal to the Vice President: “I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand, that if you have a problem with who I am, your quarrel is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.” removes the old-fashion demand for equality off our shoulders and places it where it belongs, in God’s hands. Well, at least out of our hands. The cherry tree is ready for all kinds of blossoms and the time is right to elevate remnants of the old demand into the hands of “my creator” (whatever that means to you). 

The younger generation, including Evangelicals, doesn’t care for prior bigotries. They ask logical and reasonable questions, when the answers lack justification they say, “We should have dumped that restriction a long time ago.”  “Next?”

This article begins with an unattributed quote that I now assume ownership of: “The battle for gay acceptance will only be won after the conversion of Christians.” I realized this truism in the mid seventies when I was first coming out. I had no means to publish it back then so I have no proof of having said it, but I have known it to be true all this time. When normal everyday people join our side and defend us at a risk to themselves in that pressure-zone of conformity, a christian church, then we will achieve our goals. It appears that time has come. And it only took a lifetime!

Notre Dame, a Metaphor

In the course of a few hours, viewed sporadically on my phone and computer, I saw a vision of our global future. It was being performed by an iconic piece of architecture. I mean this metaphorically, of course. You are right, buildings don’t perform, they stand still. We are all standing still as far as climate change is concerned.

Climate, the observer, watches us in our global cathedral, seeing the potential for catastrophe in the old broken environment, and yet continues to watch as we allow our icons to catch fire. 

Climate reflects: “What do they expect?” 

“Wait a minute, there was scaffolding, it was being fixed.” Says Humanity.

“Too late.”

“But, the whole thing didn’t go, and we saved the art.”

“Wouldn’t it be better if this had never happened?”

“Nobody died, or anything.”

“An exceedingly low threshold for success.”

“I didn’t say it was a success.”

“ You defend the actions of humanity as if to call it success. Your arguments imply thin  standards.”

“Look.” “We seldom move until we are pushed, unless profit or sex is involved.”

“So, you are waiting for something big to happen? Floods, cyclones and thunder-snow are not enough?”

“We crave spectacle, why do you think we hired Trump? If we’re willing to risk societal collapse just to get a four-year clown show, why expect rationality at all? Calamity viewed on our devices is the modern-day gladiator fighting the lion.”

“The New York Times reports this today, said Climate: “The Cathedral was a tinderbox. It was all but assured to go up in flames.” Sound familiar?”

“Yeah, but look at the spectacle value! We were glued to our devices, and that NYT 3D animation of the roof of Notre Dame has WOW value. It frightens and enthralls us, it provokes additional spectacle from the media, and it will be knocked off the front page by tomorrow; we have that clown show to watch, you know.”

“It seems as though extreme consequences are an acceptable price for your “Reality Extravaganza”; the device must be fed.” 

“Yeah, we’ve all got front row seats to the end of days.” Brags Humanity.

“Wouldn’t miss it for the world.” Says a bemused Climate.

Troubled Water

Hokey and sentimental was my unexpected reaction to hearing Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Waters the other day. In my memory it was still that significant work of folk music from high school. From the perspective of time, and even though the sentiments of old were as forthcoming as ever in my mind, but not my heart, the music seemed hollow. Is there a time limit on sentimentality or does the changing world cause sentiment to fade in significance? 

The bridge over troubled waters was  between generations in the sixties when the “generation gap” was the big story of society. All ages could appreciate the message in the music while still preferring either the music of Cream or Lawrence Welk according to their generational proclivities. At least we thought it should be.

I continued to listen for an hour to Simon and Garfunkel that day, reminiscing about my high school years, seeking a reason for the missing passions the music used to hold for me. The music was the same, I had changed and the world has too. So, why am I no longer moved by the stunning reveal of Richard Cory’s suicide and the bullet in his head? 

Mostly, I remembered the time our stolid and prim Presbyterian church allowed its youth to fashion the service for a Sunday in lieu of the normal presentation. We chose to use a number of songs from the newly popular singing duo. We also banged a few cymbals to startle the old fogies in the stalls from their complacency. We ended up not starting a new tradition of youth services during the normal hour, but we were given a time slot on occasion to make our noise as we choose in the gymnasium, not the sanctuary.  That experiment taught us that we wouldn’t be included in the adult conversation thereby making the generational gap even wider.

There was great power in the music of the youth at that time. Even though it is considered lyrical and harmless in contrast to music of say, Cream or The Doors, the music of Simon and Garfunkel was banished from the adult ceremony. Our modest efforts to bridge the generations served to distance the gap between us. They didn’t want to hear even the gentlest of our artists. This may have served as the inciting incident in my eventual break from the church. I renounced my baptism during my sophomore year of college. My elderly parents still attend that church, but they don’t hold with its teachings any longer; all their remaining friends go there to enjoy the fellowship, not the theology. 

So, the more I participate in the arts, the more sophisticated my tastes become. I choose classical and jazz music, and only rarely return to music of my youth. I stopped listening to pop music after the age of disco. I am open and accepting of a Lady Gaga type persona for the show-biz qualities of her performance and the phenomenon she creates, but I don’t just sit and listen to her music.

So, this feeling of distance I got from the music of Simon and Garfunkel, and the recollection of passions I no longer experience from the songs is enigmatic. Having just used that word–enigma–I realize that ‘resolution’ is part of the answer. I’ll have to take you through my thought process to explain what I mean. 

What, exactly, is the difference between the music of that era I still enjoy, and Simon and Garfunkel. My thoughts drifted back to the summers of my high school years. I spent six weeks of those summers away from home at what was called, back then, a camp for retarded children. I was a counselor with four other fellows in my cabin who supervised 12 to 15 teenagers considered to be ‘trainable’ in the language of that day. We had a small record player in the cabin and two records, Tommy by the Who, and Fiddler on the Roof. I was the only one who cared about Fiddler so we played Tommy constantly. Our circumstance and the deaf, dumb and blind boy who struggles to exist in the world seemed to have some parallels. 

I now perceive the Simon and Garfunkel music as somewhat insipid, but the Who’s music continues to speak to me as it did back then as an unclear series of questions in search of answers. No one has a clear understanding or explanation for the meaning of the original Tommy album. The plot doesn’t exist even after a film and a musical version were attempted. The music speaks for itself as a series of solid yet enigmatic musical statements leading to questions, so we are left to ponder the implications and insinuations. As a work, it has existential coherence.  It takes the listener on a journey guided by an intent. There is no resolution.

Bridge… on the other hand is pleasant and soothing and has a solid conclusion. ‘If you need a friend I’m sailing right behind,’ and there you have it, no continuing existential angst, all is fixed and all is well. How nice! The absence of a continuing question in the listener’s mind lets them forget the questions and concerns. They may wonder if the ‘friend’ is meant to be a boyfriend or God, but either way the answer still fits. The journey is from apprehension to solution presented in a very intense, pleasant song.

Why, then, does a lack of resolution allow Tommy to retain fidelity? I believe it has to do with the purpose of art in the first place. As Ibsen said, “An artist makes clear to himself and to others the temporal and eternal questions astir in the age and the time in which he exists.” Notice he doesn’t say anything about the answers. An answer would either finish the conversation or lead to different questions. A song that answers its own question terminates the conversation as Bridge…does. Whereas, questions continue to arise from Tommy; they may be centered on different temporal issues, but the eternal questions remain the same. 

All we have to do is listen to the music to hear the difference. Bridge… is about a present solution to the troubled waters. The music soothingly builds drama through an elaborate melodrama of worry in contrast with soothing passages.  The tension is resolved in the end of the song with glorious fanfare.

Tommy seems to be on a Siddhartha-like journey of self discovery leading to the dissolution of his fantasy of godhood. The story is bittersweet. The music is tense and harsh. It maintains a high level of tension which never achieves a true resolution. The possibility of resolution is continued through the whole Rock Opera by anticipatory musical statements suggesting a questioning yet brighter future. He attempts to be a god, the Pinball Wizard, but fails in the final song, We’re Not Gonna Take It which gives a clear rejection of him as a deity, but leaves us hanging, unsure of the lessons Tommy takes from this rejection. What does this mean? Well, like all good art we are left to ponder that question with our own wits. Can we find enough hints in the story or the music for an answer?

To be clear, I’m not saying art should leave us hanging around being existentially baffled. That would be absurd. I am saying that lasting art stirs the pot and forces a reaction in multiple generations. Swanee River by Stephen Foster has a similar sentimental quality to Bridge…, few people are moved by it now as they were in previous generations. I expect that is what’s happening to The Bridge Over Troubled Water–the story ends real close to where it begins (worried? I will help, the end) and the excessively overblown orchestration has outlasted the age it was created for. I also expect that as rock music becomes less commonplace Tommy’s effect will fade too. If rock continues into the future so will Tommy while Bridge… lays down next to the Swanee River.

PC and Don Lemon

Don Lemon recently had a conversation with CNN’s Chris Cuomo about the question of right and wrong https://www.rawstory.com/2018/11/cnns-don-lemon-explains-rethink-friendships-politics/ . On occasion, popular culture pundits synthesize the issues of the day into concise summaries of a particular truth. rawstory.com perceived this particular ad-lib moment and reposted it to amplify its significance. 

“If your friend is espousing policies that are detrimental to women, to gay people, to minorities, whatever, and is on the wrong side of history and seen as racist and on and on, then I think you need to rethink your friendship.”

This is a quote from Don Lemon in the discussion reported by Dominique Jackson. All told they brought up a list of polar opposites: right vs. wrong, good vs. bad, friend vs. ex friend, political vs moral, and while they didn’t say the words specifically, they alluded to political correctness. This all came up around the topic of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and her husband George Conway having ‘indiscreet’ public differences of opinions on Donald Trump. This brief unscheduled and unscripted crossover discussion between talkshow hosts has grown into a delineation of moral indecision. 

In earlier times domineering rulers, and/or theologies spelled out the answer to questions of proper behavior.  Rules were clear and punishments severe. Over time the responsibility for moral decisions fell primarily to the church. Recently, lets say the past 60 years, religion has proven itself to be a flawed steward of morality, it now ventures into secular politics on every issue. Child abuse, and a litany of morally reprehensible treatments of unwed mothers and others, all of which is hidden within a code of secrecy has changed the popular notion of preachers into vile hypocrites obsessed with sex. 

They began their efforts with presumably honorable intentions which have mutated into despicable behaviors under the guise of moral superiority. The cause (sustain the bureaucracy) outweighs the individual and so the human realities are obscured by the church bureaucracy. Morality and moral example on their part are diminished accordingly. They started out as arbiters of good and bad, right or wrong. Now, the status of good vs. bad is not the key issue of morality. The zeitgeist of society has shifted because of our current understanding that many versions of good and bad exist simultaneously. This common knowledge seeps into our daily lives diminishing the value of good v. bad theologies and is replaced by Political Correctness(PC).

Now, to be clear I am not really talking about the PC movement currently bamboozling universities and making fools of themselves as they try to define a fledgling philosophy. As the notion of good vs. bad wanes the rise of the “Golden Rule,” “the rule of reciprocity” steps in to replace it. Now, this has been a secondary element of mystery based theologies all along. PC is merely asserting its supremacy in the discussion of what is moral. It asks the question of coexistence: Can we get along and treat one another fairly? The question of an entities’ good or evil status by arbitrary methods is far less relevant in the PC world. 

As an example lets look at religion’s obsession with sex. Gay people are evil and not good in the eye of certain religions. In the realm of PC the person who is gay may be a great neighbor and have lots of friends and be easy to get along with and enjoy and cherish so their PC score is very high. The criteria for acceptance or rejection comes from experience with that person, not arbitrary, mystery-based 2000 year old rules. People see the direct result of experience over backward fantasies espoused by pedophile priests. So, the question becomes whose version of ‘good’ will be the criteria? PC is winning the battle due to the self immolation of Evangelicals and their political support of D. Trump, the endless chronology of abuse in the Catholic church, religion’s lack of relevance for youth, and authoritarian proclivities without the wherewithal to follow through. 

Neither a mystery god, nor a threat of hell have enough relevance to be the criteria for living a healthy existence in society any more. So, Don Lemon is saying we should reevaluate our friends according to their personal beliefs. Actually, his term – ‘espouse’ could mean anything from simply having an opinion to preaching it in the public square. This is the crux of the PC decision to keep or change your friends. 

Can you get along with a person who has different opinions than you? I don’t expect my friends to have identical points of view; debating questions of the day with friends is boring if you all are on the same side. But if a friend actively seeks to change society in what I consider to be a harmful way then my friendship will be withdrawn as will my placement of them on the PC scale.

But, what about bonds that are stronger than politics? My father produced two gay offspring, my Dad and I still love one another yet we are polar opposites on the political spectrum. Fox News was made just for him, I am sure. He regularly votes against the interests of his gay sons. In his mind any punishments we get from society are earned by us for being this way. So he and I have reached a place where we each come half way towards acceptance of one another. We are polite. I still love him, but he gets low PC marks from me. 

If we followed the old religious rules of such things he wouldn’t make the effort to come half way. His theology and conservative bigotry are deflated by love. He had to buck the theologic system that is so inbred he could only come half of the way. Today’s generations have that partial rebellion as a model for their own resistance. They are deciding their allegiances and friendships waste too much time and effort living up to an ancient, fantasy-based god and his stupid rules. I won’t harm you and you won’t harm me. We all get along. Bigotry and its kin – theology, be gone.

[Sorry I have been gone so long, I have been writing a book about the hurricanes on St. Croix and had little time to blog. Bill]


Sex, Slaves, & Inconvenient Truths

What we see in the great cultural divide of 2018 is a society shaken by a dual worldview. The church represents tradition and reliance upon ancient codes for defining right or wrong. That attitude is frozen in place by traditions and authoritarian dominance. The reasoning that created those rules is defunct, making them irrelevant in the current culture while they continue to be enforced by an enduring moral designation of ‘bad’. All of Christian authority comes from the long tradition of having placed, at some point in time, the designation of ‘good,’ or ‘bad’ on every aspect of life. The current mode of Political Correctness uses a different set of criteria. PC has no need of judgment regarding an ultimate right or an ultimate wrong in the sense of good vs. evil; PC criteria is focused on whether individuals and thereby society are being harmed or not. If you actively harm others your PC ranking sinks. 

Bigotry harms other people. Bigotry is immoral. Why then do evangelicals support Trump given his support of bigotry? Neither Jesus nor Paul condemn slavery despite its omnipresence in their time. Paul even returned a slave to his master; I’d call that support. So, are we still fighting the Civil War? Yes, it seems we are. But, before we get to far afield here let’s look at sex, too. Sexuality has changed a lot since the Bible was compiled. We now know an incredible amount of detail that seems to change some ancient declarations of sexuality from ‘bad’ into ‘good,’ or at least a harmless, ‘Okay.’ Biblical sexual morality has little relevance to modern social existence though rape and the like remains evil. Many sexual condemnations seem bellicose, hyperbolic and impotently unreasonable.

So, once again it seems kind of pointless to make these remarks when Evangelicals are creating the greatest fuss. They condemn, using antiquated moralities, while endorsing the most infamous counter-example, Donald Trump. The people supporting these old biblical canards, such as The Alliance Defending Freedom, are over-the-top. They acquire the designation, ‘hate group’ for their manic behavior. Yet they seem to thrill to the amoral behavior of the current president. Is hypocrisy the best description for this? I mean If Jesus throughout his life barely discussed the obvious immorality of slavery, at a time when it was omnipresent in society, why do evangelicals ignore the immoralities of Trump? It is obvious, their master, Jesus, taught them how to do it and by example condones the behavior. Trump is the new Christ.

Did Jesus teach child abuse too? You would think so if you live in Pennsylvania this week. Who teaches child abuse to the priests and how does someone like Archbishop Wuerl learn the techniques of shuffling abusive priests to other parishes like pawns on a chess board? Is this like ignoring slavery because it is convenient? Perhaps Political Correctness is the wrong course of action; “God” in truth, actually prefers slavery and child rape–it is as plain as the nose on their theological face.

PC Envy

Political Correctness appears to have usurped religion’s title as arbiter of morality; Religion wants the title back. 

Political correctness has, until recently, been under the thumb of religious control. Now, religious forays into actual politics have whittled down their stature and made them simply another player in the game. The amorphous PC world is often seen by them as a rebellion against religion, but, in truth, secular opinions are only now being freely heard. This has the effect of normalizing a more secular society. All this coincides with the growth of the internet which facilitates and accelerates rapidly changing attitudes and knowledge.

It is my contention that the ascendant Alt-Right/Authoritarian/Trump wave currently plaguing society is due to their own efforts to combat Political Correctness as a whole because, without domination of the game they earn a low rank on PC scales. Their efforts result in a jealous desire for PC stature that they refuse to earn for themselves. They are clawing their way out of that self-imposed hole using the least PC tools available; those efforts make for a fierce and determined, amoral contender.

Political correctness does not come from the courts, the law, or church. It comes from the heart of society and its shared sense of humanity. Political correctness does not rely upon a specific dogma. Political correctness is a shared consensus not an actual organization or club that one belongs to. It is the spirit of the times, the zeitgeist of the moment. It has no owner or president nor structure. Anyone is welcome in the world of political correctness. All humanity and its enterprise exist somewhere on the scale of political correctness.

People and entities are ‘self-ranking’ within the politically correct hierarchy. Entities obtain status through being observed and then unofficially ranked by consensus within the society. There is no chart or record or award for ending up at some point or other on the ranking chart. An entity’s rank can change in an instant. It is a matter of a multitude of perspectives on that entity and its behavior. One’s perspective changes constantly, so, from any person’s current perspective this question is repeatedly being asked: is that entity fair to the rest of us?

The list below is an observational description of PC.

  1. One speaks respectfully about all issues and the people who hold those various opinions whether they agree with them or not.
  2. One stands up for their beliefs and asserts them in a respectful way without insulting the integrity or humanity of those around them.
  3. They listen to the opinions of others and respect them for their merit, civility, and disposition in society.
  4. Each entity puts into practice, through action, this common moral assertion: The Law of Reciprocity (do unto others as you would have others do unto you).
  5. The test for civility is not found in the designation of ‘good’ in opposition to ‘evil’ for there are many goods and many evils. The test for civility is how one – good, in-between, or evil – collaborates with others who may, or not, be good, or evil, or a mixture, in the quest to coexist peaceably.
  6. Political Correctness is about civility – shared respect and fair treatment of others.
  7. As with all social structures PC can itself become oppressive and exclusive and over-adamant of its perceptions and conclusions, and therefore become guilty of over-reaching itself. This should be pointed out and addressed when it happens.

The Trump/alt-society (including White Evangelicals, White Supremacists, and the 1%), demands a rank of high-status in the PC world similar to that of say, Civil Rights. Religions expecting their prior stature say: ‘We demand the esteem we have always had.’ Political Correctness does acknowledge their prior stature, but the alt-right’s rank is always low on the PC scale due to their rebuke of the Law of Reciprocity. This demand for a clearly un-earned high status causes the PC folks to cringe. The Alt-right’s self-righteous approach misses the point of a non-structured entity like Political Correctness with no authority-based leadership. 

“Deep and sincere religious belief” is the call of desperation from the religious authoritarian perspective. That phrase is being used to rationalize the religious domination of our culture. An example: “If a man lies with a man as with a woman, they have both committed an abomination They must surely be put to death.That authoritarian command obviously runs counter to the Law of Reciprocity and common decency as well. The recent Supreme Court decision, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, illuminates the piercing point of the wedge being used to pry open the law which would allow the codification of religiously based bigotry. It comes in the form of that deceptive phrase: “deep and sincere religious belief”.

In the Alt-Right mindset, a deep & sincere religious belief alone is sufficient to override all of the following: deep and sincere beliefs of all others, the Golden Rule, Civil Laws, common sense, common decency, respect, and love. 

There is no mechanism for deciding the supremacy of deepness, I mean, a splinter in my finger feels deep but fracking shale in horizontal wells is also deep. How does one measure the sincerity of a given belief? What constitutes a ‘religious’ belief? It seems redundant. How is it different from a regular belief? “I believe for every drop of rain that falls a flower grows,” makes for a great song lyric but is patently untrue; is it a serious religious belief? It was written by Erwin Drake, in the genre of ‘faith song’– a musical prayer. It is a beautiful sentiment that was very popular in the 1950’s pop music scene. At what point does belief overtake sentimentality; at what point does belief supersede veracity?

This dominating attitude is the cause of religion’s low rank on the PC scale. Religion is based in mystery and is full of fantasy. The verifiable qualities of their supernatural beliefs don’t exist. Rational thoughts or behaviors are irrelevant in religious belief. Insistence in the authority of ‘belief’ diminishes their stature once the bluster has settled and the face behind the facade is made visible. 

Religion and Political Correctness have different goals:

  • Religion is attempting to define good and its opposite, evil. Political Correctness is an attempt to make manifest the ways we all get along together.
  • Religion places people in good or evil categories (often for their obsessive concern: sex) while PC individuals self-rank according to collaborative fellowship without fantasy or mystery.
  • There is no organization or hierarchy or dogma for PC ranking; it amounts to organic fairness. Religions create dogma, rules and rituals to maintain authoritarian dominance over its followers; this creates a with-us or against-us mentality.
  • Good and evil or a mixture of the two exist in all people to some degree. Both religion and PC control the mixture through a shunning process. Religion has legalistic authoritarian rules that lead to exclusion when violations occur. Low PC ranking amounts to a natural repudiation from society, but not outright exclusion. 
  • The rules of religion are spelled out in documented legalese. The rules of Political Correctness ebb and flow; they resemble a sensibility of the moment more than a list of moral approbations.
  • Mystery-based, ancient religious edicts regarding moral behavior may contain any number of extraneous, sexually misbegotten, non-instinctual, older, authoritarian demands. PC seems respectfully amorphous in contrast and a bit avant-garde. 
  • We all have stock in Political Correctness, but most of us have zero stock in any more than one Religion; none of us have stock in every Religion.

When the Alt-Right seeks to pick a fight with an amorphous foe, how do they know where to aim their arrows? Trump’s scattershot answer to that question is to be amorphous too, in an aggressive way. If PC has no structure why should he? Sure, he can codify their bigotry into laws through an ambiguous ‘belief,’ but the stacked court can’t define politically correct; that is our collective pride and privilege to decide. We need to be politically active about what is correct.

Wedding Cake Harbinger


The Vagaries of Religion are Protected by the Constitution

The time is here to become a Pastafarian. The constitution protects religious: fluctuations, variations, quirks, peculiarities, oddities, eccentricities, unpredictability, caprice, foibles, whims, whimsy, and fancies under the guise of “deep and sincere religious beliefs” especially when it comes to pastry. The constitution makes no allowance for the absurdity, inhumanity or diabolical behavior of the belief. There is no scale to judge the merit of the core faith. If people call it a religion then it has constitutional protection. It must be respected under the law. If your religion hates Christians then it must be accommodated by law. Or so the recent ruling about baking religiously sensitive cakes by the Supreme Court seems to say. Open mockery of the flights and fancies of some religion shows disrespect, you can’t do that. Satanists, Witches, Vampirism, Jediism, must all be given equal and complete respect within the judicial and enforcement communities so the holy baker wins.

Of course, LGBT people deserve the same respect. So, Once more into the mildewed beast my friends, Leviticus 20:13 “If a man lies with a man as with a woman, they have both committed an abomination They must surely be put to death” has equal status with – “We’d like a wedding cake because we love each other and want to get married.” Who wins? Well that isn’t part of this decision. The battle continues, but just look at how often the phrase “deep and sincere religious beliefs” or something similar is used in the decision. That is the harbinger we face now.

Flesh of Children…Revision

This is a revision of a previously posted item. Please comment!


Flesh of Children Carnival


Not much difference that I can see,

Matters of a dark degree, 

Through seemingly endless


Pedophilia’s theology

Is closeted by The Holy See.

Children, abused, need therapy.

And yet,

Another exploding trauma 

Confounds our youth-filled drama:

Gatling Gun deaths of lovers, 

Our Sisters, their brothers,

A Best Friend Forever 

(The measure of infinity,

Death was totally un-expected.)

This violent action tethered:

Kid’s safety 


Automatically available weaponry.


Articulate children — the rifleman’s fear above all-

Have marched in DC, made the Clarion Call.

Have we, 

Through these student measures,

Finally escaped the pressures 

Of those NRA confessors?

Bullies in gun bureaucracies 

Lose allegiance of constituencies

Who uphold common



NRA advocates — cranky old gents

And pretty spokesmodels 

Are the Bishops and Cardinals

Sweeping violent abuse into some other parish.

Ignore that child’s gaping, giant wound, 

This is not the time to heal such matters.


Call student dissent a ‘Carnival? 

Keep threats of carnage fed –

Carnivorous language chews up a student’s head.

With recollected images: 



Of that cute kid from the Bio lab

who’s been shot dead;

More fear of the boogey man, 

The pedophile priest, 

This flesh of children carnival upon which adults feast. 


Grown-ups create bureaucracies

That force alter boys down to their knees.

A class sweats for hours in cramped closets

Imagining fearful, awful horrors

Of dudes 

a wall away 

Bleeding in the corridors. 


We’ve lost our own morality,

It is gone from church and state.


Trust Kids to guide our fate?



David Hogg is standing up,

And so is Ms Tarr

Young Mr. Wind gives a good speech

and Emma González is 




They impress us with capacities

We’d hope to see in grown-ups, pa-lease?


Virtues, fearless, marched that day.

Apostasy was ripe. 

Our old hypocrisies

Are just plain trite. 

Kids stole authority 

From morality 

And showed us to the light.



Humanity’s moral incarnation,

Go forward!

Our destinies we gladly consign to you.



I, Myself, Me = Depression?

How did you know? 

It’s, apparently, self-evident from the book I am currently writing that I have depression. This new revelation comes from headlines across the internet: that one can be diagnosed with depression through a computer analysis of their writing. It’s a bit scary. I don’t care about people knowing I’m mentally ill, though there are many anxiety filled bloggers who would keep a detail like that secret. Look at all the psychiatrists and psychologists and busybodies trying to assign our president some sort of mental illness even though he never writes (or reads). What if David Brooks was diagnosed with pomposity or something like that? Wait a minute, we judge writers all the time. Folks who write are judged by what they write. Right? 

This is different. An App is required to analyze the usage of certain words that then provide a medical diagnosis. This is not an opinion generated by a machine, it’s a fairly accurate probability of the author having depression. The use of pronouns is key to the diagnosis. The more self-referential, the more likely one is to be depressed, somehow. The use of sad, depressing words is less relevant than the absence of pronouns like ‘they’ or ‘them’ or ‘she,’ and the prevalence of ‘I’ ‘myself’ and ‘me’. Upon learning this, now and henceforth, I myself me the royal ‘we’ shall make an effort to reduce the number of self-referential pronouns in my this blog. 

At the beginning of the 3/4 finished book a promise was made that: the reader would not learn any personal details about the author. This was obviously a lie on someone’s part about the intent of the author who shall now have to be identified without the use of certain incriminating pronouns. This is going to be a challenge for the author since the joke of the plot is that the author can’t seem to discuss any topic without making it personal. Although the more he thinks about it the more foolish he feels for going to such elaborate lengths to avoid imbuing his book with evidence to what he has already confessed – being depressed. He shouldn’t be so concerned about what a computer may someday analyze; editing out pronouns will only disprove what he has already confessed!

You know what’s funny about this is, that I actually exported my current draft of the book into other software to do a usage count of pronouns. So far, out of 25,000 words ‘I’ has been used 365 times, ‘my’ 125 times and ‘me’ 62 times. If I had used ‘I’ twice was much would I need more Prozac? ‘She’ was used only 25 times, a bit sexist don’t you think? Write what you know, they say.  

During my time in academia it became clear that avoiding self-referential elements in emails and communications with students and administrators alike helped temper the reaction to critical or undesired comments. This was the opposite of an unnamed colleague of mine; who could be described by saying, “A conversation with him was always a conversation about him no matter the topic.” By editing my ‘self’ out of the conversation there was nothing to make make the recipient angry with me personally. The message could be communicated clearly and live or die without the baggage of personalities and emotionality. It could still be written with compassion and sympathy while staying focused upon the intended message to the reader. I guess my professional documents would not provide evidence of depression. One wonders just how reliable this new technology is?