My friend, with all the figures and the graphs
With columns neatly out before you laid,
With reason notated, with logic align'd,
And, even sickened, compelled to stare in perfect silence at the stars --
How moved to pity am I at your predicament:
The most poetic of us all most lacking in imagination.
There, before you, were not inscribed cold numbers,
Feelingless fomulae, inept calculations;
But the total sum of man's furthest comprehensions
Dictated in the language of the universe.
How strange and lamentable this seems -- that it should move you to disgust!
-- And leave you to yourself with mystery as your salve.
How very, very lonely that must be.
Friday, October 18, 2013
In various chapters of Oh, Your god!, I state ever and anon that, while self-torture, penance, flagellation, etc., are insane and indicators of an unbalanced psychology, any adult has the right to inflict pain upon themselves, even to the extent of their own death for whatever reason they like. They must, however, be willing to accept two irrefutable factors: that they will be criticized for their behavior and that the right to indulge in this kind of masochism ends the moment they contemplate forcibly involving others. Unfortunately, this happens too often, as the expansionist principle of theism is overwhelming -- and undoubtedly the easiest victims are children.
(photo source unknown. Retrieved from Reddit post)
The Mourning of Muharram marks the first month of the Islamic Calendar. It is the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala in which the grandson of the Prophet, Imam Hussein, was slain. Shi'a Muslims commemorate this event most fervidly by organizing gatherings called majalis and enacting passion plays to portray the pain of Hussein during his torture at the hands of his captors. While these are typically bloodless, the thought brings to mind a similar event that occurs in the Philippines on Easter, when thousands gather to watch tens of willing volunteers undergo literal crucifixion on a hillside to emulate the suffering of Christ. This kind of snuff theatre, as it should, leaves a cold feeling in the stomach.
Of all the styles of mourning during Muharram, the act of matam is the most macabre. In it, willing volunteers publicly beat their chests ferociously, giving a vivid physical performance of their lamentations. These are of the kinder variety, however, as it is not uncommon for others to flay themselves with cat-o'-nine-tails made of chains, called zanjir, lacerating open their bodies and bleeding freely in the streets. Knives and other cutting implements are often shared among many people, leaving the possibility of infection wide open.
All this, while asinine and horrifying, is within the civil liberty of anyone who wishes to experience it. The true crime of Muharram comes not from the wounds that men and women inflict upon themselves, but from those that they force upon their young ones.
It does not require the explanation of yours truly, gentle reader, to see the evil in this. Child abuse is, in a word, an understatement of the worst possible degree. What traumas may result from undergoing this experience once a year might only be guessed at, but it can be affirmed by anyone with the iron will to watch it occur that this event is as terrifying and painful for the child as it is barbaric to watch.
This is the insanity that occurs when religion is allowed control of a cultural moral compass -- the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son becomes an honorable act to billions of people; holy texts become flooded with the abuse and death of innocent children: the slaying of the firstborn in Exodus; the death of the suckling infants in Samuel; Jepthath murdering his only daughter by burning her at the stake because the lord told him to in Judges; the killing of the baby of David and Bathsheba as penances for their adultery; the killing of forty-two boys by she-bears after Elisha muttered curse of god on them in II Kings; the death of Job's children at the hand of god (for the contemptible motivation of winning a bet...); and a handful of Proverbs (13:24, 19:18, 22:15, 23:13-14, & 29:15), where god demands the beating of children.
(photo source unknown. Retrieved from Reddit post)
Truth be told, there is a kind of beauty in self-sacrifice: a willingness to put the needs of others or the ideals of principle above one's own life is a kind of dedication of which I can only dream. But, gentle readers, it seems readily apparent to me that an action of this sort is only effective in the name of something tangible and worthwhile. In the visage of credulity and myth, all we witness from the same action is gore, pain, terror, and fanaticism. These actions are trumped in their barbarity by their meaninglessness -- and when children are involved as little more than props for the zeal of adults, in a world where vaginae are sewn shut but foreheads are sliced open, there can be little doubt that 'barbarity' and 'meaninglessness' are far less potent words than what reality requires.
(photo source unknown. Retrieved from Reddit post)
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Oh, my friends! What a horribly negligent blogger I have been. While excuses abound as to why I have not touched my favorite virtual platform in nearly a month, I think it would do better to skip the alibis and instead present you with reading material. As an apology, I would like to show you the preface to what I hope becomes a book denouncing the demagogue George Galloway. There is no promise that this work will be completed, only that it is brewing in the back of my head and I felt the need to type out the premise. Galloway is a Goliath that, I think, is well deserving of the right stone. Perhaps, in time, this work will serve.
Apologies again for my absence. Please enjoy this Preface. Who knows, perhaps it will turn into something more weighty and tome-like in the future?
(photo courtesy of telegraph.co.uk)
The first time I heard George Galloway speak, it was in his remarkably telling tirade masquerading as a debate on YouTube, discussing whether or not the war in
was just. Regardless of the
fact that his opponent was the indomitable Christopher Hitchens, Georgie didn’t
stand much of a chance—his constant appeals to unimaginative insults and
continuous approval-seeking from the audience quickly showed his ineptitude at
making a valid point. Despite this, I endeavored very hard to hear what he had
to say objectively, to understand the case that he was trying so desperately
(and failing) to make. After all, wasn’t he speaking from an empathetic,
humanist platform? Was he not appealing to the thousands of lives, needlessly
thrown away, belonging both to American soldiers, Iraqi soldiers, and civilians
on either side? This is a poignantly striking stance—the ultimate banner to
which all in the Left flocked on this subject—and, in my mind, deserved to be
considered. So it was with gritted teeth that I watched him slosh about in his
own puddle of ad hominem excrement,
referring to Hitchens as “the first ever metamorphosis from a butterfly back
into a slug,” (he was unaware, I suppose, that slugs don’t turn into
butterflies…) and that he “mention[s] slug purposefully, because the one thing
a slug does leave behind it is a trail of slime.” If this was supposed to be a
metaphor for an argument of Hitchens’s, it was never elaborated on. In this
instance, as in many others, Iraq Galloway simply
enjoyed hearing himself talk and enjoyed much more the rousing troglodytic
howls that greeted him whenever he did this.
If I hadn’t already made up my mind as to the necessity of the liberation of
from its insane dictator before, Hitchens’s case would have convinced me in
this instance. But it was not Hitchens that drew my intense curiosity at the
end of the spectacle—it was the mustached Scot whose face would burn red with
every failed accusation, and whose hand sawed the air so fervently that I
expected the Dane himself to rise from the audience and end the robustious
periwig-pated fellow tearing the passion to tatters. Galloway had grasped at
astonishing straws to prove his point, such as showcasing the hurt feelings of
Casey Sheehan’s mother (the absurdity of this tactic shall be elucidated later),
but I quickly realized that whether or not his argument was based in moral
foundation, its mouthpiece was not as fortuitous. Iraq
The rap sheet for Mr. Galloway is not like that of Henry Kissinger or Richard Nixon. One does not need to wait for declassified documents from the
government in order to find the
details one needs to draw up a reasonable opinion of him. A quick Google search
and any number of interviews, appearances, and articles are freely available on
the internet that can show that his public actions are grotesque enough to hide
in open spaces—that is to say, there is quite literally nothing to bury. In
this way, he is much like Agnes Bojaxhiu or Pat Robertson or Saddam Hussein
himself—the evidence exists in plenty to the public, yet there seems to be some
strange screen that prevents the intelligent reader from perusing it, and
instead contents him- or herself to continue in ignorance. This is a phenomenon
I have never understood and always detested. So, it was made immediately
apparent to me that United
States Galloway was considered a
champion for the Left, with his brash brogue standing proud for the liberties
of homosexuals, the rights of countries to live in peace without foreign
invasion, and several charitable efforts on an international level. It is very
easy to see how a lazy subscriber to political ideologies (especially on the
Left, as these causes are so self-evidently moral) could decide that the résumé
of George Galloway, when annotated here, is worthy of support and admiration. But
the debate alone was enough to show that this was not the case, and further
reading was required.
It was not merely sufficient to know that George Galloway had been expelled from the Labour Party (of which he had been a member since the age of thirteen) for inciting British soldiers to regard their orders while in Iraq as “illegal”; it was not adequate to discover that, in his own words, the biggest catastrophe of his life was the fall of the Soviet Union; it was not enough to read that he believed the indescribable tragedies of September 11th, 2001 in New York City and July 7th, 2005 in London were the results of the foreign policies of the respective countries—an insipid proposal in which, I am incredibly sorry to hear, many others join him. The vomit-inducing commentary comes from his admonitions that Hezbollah is not and never was a terrorist organization, or that it was not responsible for the murder of the Prime Minister of Lebanon, Rafiq Hariri in 2005; for praising the Saddam Hussein regime and saluting its “courage” directly to the face of the despot himself; for donating personal money to Hamas and publicly raising funds for the same, convincing the American Left that this was a mission worth engaging; for saying without blush that a hypothetical suicide bombing that successfully killed then-Prime Minister Tony Blair without any further casualties would be a moral action—for these contemptible assertions, dealings, and many more of the kind, the true character of George Galloway was revealed to me. I expected the research to be more difficult: the results begged to be seen. Needless to say, I was appalled—not merely at the despicable endeavors of this man in his political career, but at the nonchalance of so many who had free access to witness them. On Amazon at the time of the writing, a search for “George Galloway” in the book section reveals two volumes about him specifically, one of them being his outrageously overpriced autobiography (a work so masturbatory it was everything I could do to get through it without an umbrella), and another that is clearly appreciative of him on the outset. There is nothing of the dialectic or polemic, and while pieces in article form have appeared here and there, and interviews have been recorded expressing well-deserved disdain for the villain, it seems as if this humble work is setting out on something of a maiden literary voyage. The hope is that at least one dissenting voice can be available if ever the Amazon search were repeated.
More than anything, I felt myself betrayed and pitying the hallmarks of Leftist thinking that had been so blatantly excoriated by Mr. Galloway, who was supposed to be their white knight in the face of (what he and many others feel to be) imperialism. True,
is a kind of Leftist, in that he is a proclaimed socialist, but the economic
concerns of the Left are only one facet of its ideological constitution. Some
would argue that the more important (or at least more demonstrable) pillars of
Leftism are its social obligations—equality of race and nationality and sexual
orientation, social responsibility, philosophical and religious harmony. Galloway
vividly demonstrates his treachery for most of these virtues as he walked out
of a widely anticipated debate that was held in Christ Church College at Oxford
University when he discovered that his opponent was Israeli; he holds a
personal view that women shouldn’t be allowed the choice for an abortion; and,
despite being anti-war, he supported the use of Syrian troops in Lebanon
against a potential Israeli invasion rather than find a diplomatic solution. To
many who see Galloway as a herald of Leftist
virtues, it should be illuminated that such hypocrisy is rarely seen by leading
figureheads on either side of the political spectrum. One cannot be against war
and totalitarianism and simultaneously shake the hands of fantastically violent
warlords who themselves have annexed neighboring countries, contributed to
incalculable environmental damage by setting alight the Kuwaiti oil fields, and
be himself overly sympathetic to a religion that eradicates the rights of women
by every standard we would acknowledge in a civil and secular society. To the
Left, Galloway should be seen as exactly what
he is: a fraud of Shakespearean proportions. They should be irate to find that
they have been so callously misrepresented, and that their hopes and respects
were kept in the hands of a man who reveled in greed and contempt for a free
market, democracy, and the overthrow of fascism.
The truth of my deduction is inherent in the title—Galloway’s telling capitulations to Saddam Hussein, Fidel Castro, Tariq Aziz and others are the building blocks by which anyone should erect a judgment of him. Much as the enemy of my enemy is my friend, the friend of my enemy is undoubtedly my enemy, and Galloway has not only filled this position with vibrant enthusiasm, but he has managed to convince too many of the voting public that he has done it expressly (and successfully) for the cause of peace. It is a charade which must be exposed. The masochism he expresses in his hatred for our countries, our cultures, its people and its leaders—while entirely within his rights to do as much as he pleases—must be called by what it is: not a staple or clarion call of the Left, but a selfish ideology that allows him to become lickspittle to those he idolizes. Let us not idolize him for it.