Monday, November 13, 2006

Resolute Round-up

Because I'm in the midst of the busiest time of my life (so far), I'm more in the mood for quick shots of sass than prolonged discussion of anything. With that in mind, then, witness the bold, unsettling return of this beloved institution!


The nation of New Zealand has admitted defeat! Rather than simply crack down on the lazy, anti-intellectual jerks who insist on importing their cant into the halls of academia, the country's "Qualifications Authority" (which sounds like one of the monstrous, bureaucratic death squads from a Richard Matheson story) has decided to allow students to use "text speak" in exam answers without penalty. For those of you lucky enough not to know what this means, this luck will be short-lived, as I shall presently tell you. Text speak (or txt spk) is the use of asinine, abbreviated lingo in the place of dignified words for the purposes of saving time and space when transmitting messages via cellular phone or instant messaging program. Gone is the stately majesty of "how fare thee?" Enter the pretender: "how r u?" It's like an Americanizer's wet dream (enjoyed all thru the nite, obviously). Shame on you, New Zealand.


Watch out, Benedict! We could soon have an antipope on our hands at the rate she's going.

For 45 years, she was a Roman Catholic nun. Now she considers herself a Catholic bishop.

Patricia Fresen of South Africa says she was ordained a priest in 2003 and a bishop last year — though the church recognizes neither.

The 65-year-old Fresen, part of a movement that began four years ago called Roman Catholic Womenpriests, will be speaking in the Puget Sound area over the next few days. She's one of about 40 members who consider themselves priests or deacons and one of four who consider themselves bishops.

In other news, in my continuing fight against hegemony and qualification in all of their perverse, unnecessary and unjust forms, I am pleased to announce that I am now the Dean of Arts at the University of Western Ontario, and intend to begin hiring new part- and full-time professors immediately.


And, because it can always get worse, we have Elton John on our case now in his typical asinine manner. It's all very well and good to say that "religious leaders" (those anonymous monoliths!) should all meet up and do... something not specified, but really, what's the point? Chesterton once remarked (about the early ecumenical councils specifically, though the point is a good one to make in general) that successful religious discussions have always concluded with a distinction rather than a compromise, and I think that this is important to remember. Sir Elton would apparently have the great religions of the world throw their fundamental essences to the four winds in favour of some general policy of secular niceness (or would he? He doesn't say), which I am sure would please a great many people - many of them religious - greatly. However, that's not what religion is about. That's not the point of it. Any fool can be nice, but it takes a religion to tell him why he ought to, beyond him wanting to, and to show him that niceness simply isn't enough. Niceness is no substitute for Love. It will not conquer evil.

I would say, in fact, that Niceness is Love without God. Does anyone have any thoughts about this?


Apparently "worse" isn't the worst that it can be, though, because guess what? When it's not flaming English pop singers it's smug American atheists. The approach to the issue is sophomoric, and is all the more tragic in that it might even have had some meaningful, righteous passages if the author weren't so determined to show how disdainful and uncharitable he is. In Sam Harris' Christian landscape, either you're a fundamentalist protestant or you simply don't exist. I imagine such a landscape really is a terrifying place to live, and could quite easily provoke the sort of dreck he's been giving us lately, but someone should probably let him know that he is trapped in a Waste Land of the mind only, and seemingly by his own choice.

In any event, the article is uniformly terrible, as it stands, and is full of astonishing lapses of judgment of this sort:
Given our status as a superpower, our material wealth and the continuous advancements in our technology, it seems safe to say that the president of the United States has more power and responsibility than any person in history.
I mean, it's not like there were ever Emperors or Kings (or Popes, hey!) or anything who held literal life and death power over anyone, right? No, their power was more abstract, being rooted in the necessity of literally fending off usurpers rather than some vague constitutional notion. No, their responsibilities were fewer, given the frequent necessity of actually fighting wars with their own hands rather than handing out directives from behind a desk. With regard to America's status as a "president-booster," in terms of that gentleman's power and responsibility, I would suggest that the world is not less American than America than the world was less Roman than Rome. That is, if we want to talk about "status as superpower," "material wealth," and "continuous advancements," let's not talk about a world in which the superpower in question trails other countries in the fields of electronics, automotives and so on.

Or there's this:
Believing that God has delivered you unto the presidency really seems to entail the belief that you cannot make any catastrophic mistakes while in office.
This statement is so monstrously simplistic that I can't even bring myself to address it. You're all clever people, though; you'll figure it out.

Such, then, is the caliber of the (apparently) most popular atheist in America. Thank you, God!

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