Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Blasphemy Day: Sex Fiends, Lizard Men, 80s Videos

•The Center for Inquiry has declared today, September 30, Blasphemy Day, and they’re encouraging people to show their skeptical courage by e-mailing them blasphemous thoughts by midnight tonight at BlasphemyContest[at] — all of which strikes me as even worse PR than Richard Dawkins. A well-adjusted skeptic, it seems to me, shouldn’t be going out of his way to blaspheme any more than a non-believer in talking horses should wake up each morning asking how he can desecrate a My Little Pony action figure in a new way today. It should just be a non-issue, whether due to politeness or mere apathy.

•If we are to root for blasphemy today, though, here’s the kind I’m rooting for: We are sadly overdue for a mainly-English-language Paul Verhoeven film (the last being 2000’s mediocre Hollow Man) — but if he makes a film of his 2007 book Jesus: The Man, depicting Jesus as a non-supernatural political terrorist leading an uprising against the Romans, all is forgiven and the world becomes interesting again (Verhoeven is part of a Jesus Study Group that shares unorthodox research about the historicity of Jesus, when he’s not making some of the greatest films of all time, including RoboCop, Starship Troopers, and the perfect Total Recall — “See you at tha pahty, Richta!”). The star of the (wondrous) Mad Max movies got his chance to do a Jesus movie, why not the RoboCop director?

•For many people, religious unorthodoxy seems to lead straight to weird sex, and I notice that this past Saturday a couple New Agey acquaintances of mine spoke at an event in NYC called the Sacred Sexuality Round-Up, teaching such things as “Tantric chivalry,” which I assume means deferring to the lady’s preferences on how much chi to put into the chakras or something.

•On a sex/religion note that is either highly orthodox or utterly bizarre, I see that Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, with whom the floor was mopped about a year and a half ago in a debate with atheist Christopher Hitchens, now has a book coming out based on his interviews with spiritually- and otherwise-confused Michael Jackson, of all people — and weirder still, they met through “psychic” Uri Geller (who tends to sue people if they replicate his stunts using stage magic or con man tricks), with whom Boteach co-wrote a book, a dialogue between a rabbi and psychic on the things that cannot be proven. Boteach is also the author of Kosher Sex, which presumably does not touch on Jackson’s sex life.

•One of the weirder recent revelations about Michael Jackson: he knew he looked like a freak from all his plastic surgery, likening himself to a “lizard.” I can only imagine how much this revelation will excite the small group of very odd conspiracy theorists who believe that the world is secretly ruled by a race of shape-shifting lizard men. Here is what appears to be one of the conspiracy theorists’ videos, ostensibly showing proof that German chancellor Merkel is a reptile-woman. After her recent electoral victory and its possible free-market implications, I for one welcome our new reptile overlords.

•For all their woes, accused child molesters Michael Jackson and Roman Polanski at least got to live in cool, fanciful places like Neverland and France. By contrast, not long after a news story about restrictions on released sex offenders forcing some to live under a bridge, there’s this story about a bunch being forced by similar residential restrictions to live in the woods. Now, I’ve never been the mushy liberal type who thinks we must bend over backwards to make criminals feel accepted into the broader society, but surely there are few surer ways to turn socially-marginalized people with dangerous inclinations into monsters divorced from the norms of society than to make them live under bridges and in the woods. Are we trying to create a tragic “troll-attack” incident?

•The disturbing and hellish topics above will be compensated for somewhat by the idealistic “Month of Utopia” blog entries I’m starting tomorrow, looking at roughly one utopian (or dystopian) text per day — though tomorrow I must also formally announce our next Debate at Lolita Bar, one on a topic that some think could end the whole American Dream and plunge us into civil war: the strange recurring question of whether Obama is really a natural-born citizen.

•And to compensate for all the Michael Jackson talk above — and the lizard video — here are some genuinely wonderful videos (say I) from the 80s with no connection to Jackson or reptile men:

“Castles in Spain” by Armoury Show

– the same live

– a better-known band that also featured the late guitarist John McGeoch, Siouxsie and the Banshees, here doing “Israel”

– a clip of a teenage girl learning the bass part of “Israel” and thus keeping goth tradition alive

– Alphaville doing “Big in Japan,” which I always thought should have been a bigger hit

– Real Life doing “Send Me an Angel”

– and on a more blasphemous note, in conclusion, one for the naughty Catholic in your life, “It’s a Sin” by Pet Shop Boys (though I prefer this one in which they cover the Village People’s “Go West” and gaily fuse the USSR and U.S. — dialectical synthesis of some sort).


Jake said...

not to throw cold water on anyone’s debate, but isn’t the birther debate rendered moot by Obama’s mother’s uncontested US citizenship? That, not your place of birth, is the determining factor in your own citizenship, no? Otherwise we’d be constantly hearing about how the children of either soldiers or diplomats were ineligible for the presidency if born overseas.

Todd Seavey said...

There was in fact some debate about whether McCain, born on a military base outside the U.S., qualified.

I’m merely hosting, not making the birther case, but that side might well argue that _if_ Obama were secretly born abroad, he’s indeed a _citizen_ but not a “natural-born citizen” in the sense required by the Constitution for eligibility for the Presidency. But I’ll let our debaters sort that out.