April 3, 2006

Electricity comes from other planets


gerhard richter, untitled

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

7. Christian Soldiers

"Last week, representatives of the religion which claims at least 85% of Americans held a two-day conference in a posh Washington DC hotel to discuss how they're being oppressed. Actually, scratch that - these people are not representatives of the vast majority of American Christians. They really represent a radical right-wing fringe which seeks to use religion as a tool to gain political traction for their bigoted ideas. But of course, claiming that there is a 'War on Prejudiced Fools Who Seek to Destroy the Separation of Church and State and Radicalize America With Their Own Warped Version of Christianity' doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, so so they decided on 'War on Christians' instead.

"And oh, how they whined. 'It doesn't rise to the level of persecution that we would see in China or North Korea,' said activist Tristan Emmanuel, 'But let's not pretend that it's okay.' Doesn't rise to the level of persecution that we would see in China or North Korea? No kidding. In North Korea, Christians are executed. In America, the president is openly Christian, as is the vice president. And the Speaker of the House of Representatives. And the House Majority Leader, and the Senate Majority Leader, and the Attorney General, the Defense Secretary, the Secretary of State, and seven of the nine members of the Supreme Court. And 85% of the rest of the country. So one might indeed argue that it doesn't rise to 'the level of persecution that we would see in China or North Korea.'

"Top speakers at the 'War on Christians' event included Tom DeLay (under indictment for corruption in Texas), John Cornyn (a top recipient of funds from convicted felon Jack Abramoff), Sam Brownback (another top recipient of funds from Abramoff), and Gary Bauer (accused of adultery). And let's not forget Alan Keyes, who threw his daughter out of the house because she's gay.

"The event also featured Michael Horowitz, who told the attendees, 'You guys have become the Jews of the 21st century.' Presumably he was referring to the 6 million American Christians who were gassed to death in Massachusetts concentration camps last year."

* Dorothy Parker will her copyright to the NAACP -- an organization her executor hated. excerpt:

"Soon afterward, Parker's will was read. It was no surprise that she appointed Hellman as literary executor—a shrewd, high-energy businesswoman, she was the obvious choice to oversee the estate. Perhaps figuring that Hellman had no need of money, though more likely because she believed passionately in racial equality, Parker had decided to place her sparrow-size nest egg where it could do some good. Her entire estate, including any copyrights and royalties from her writings, was left to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a man she had never met but admired tremendously. In the event of King's death, it was to go to the NAACP.

"When notified of the unexpected bequest, which amounted to around twenty thousand dollars excluding unpaid bills and burial expenses, King was puzzled. He had no idea who Parker was. As for the other interested parties, their reactions can be best described as disbelief, if not shock. In Brockport, NY, twenty miles west of Rochester, Dottie's niece and nephew expressed disappointment. Their lawyer wrote Bernstien to find out whether King could not be persuaded to share the estate with them. Hearing of this, Hellman exploded to Bernstien about their 'absolutely unmitigated gall.' And when the children subsequently asked for an autographed book or picture as a personal memento and wanted to know where their aunt Dottie was buried, they got no response. (Hellman also disregarded a Volney resident who claimed she had been promised Parker's old fur coat.)

"On the face of it, Hellman seemed pleased about King, publicly applauding Parker's 'strong feelings about civil liberty and Negro rights' and saying she was 'very impressed' by such a noble bequest. But in private she was fuming. King irritated her—apparently he reminded her of southern preachers from her childhood—but what upset her most was her friend's betrayal. Having managed to acquire control of Hammett's literary estate, Hellman had also expected to inherit Parker's; indeed, she believed she was entitled to it. As literary executor, she would be expected to make all decisions but would not benefit financially; proceeds from sales of the work would go to King, the new owner of the copyrights. Within a year of Parker's death, the civil-rights leader was assassinated and the estate became property of the NAACP, an organization for which Hellman had no respect whatsoever because she considered it timid and ineffectual. Ignoring the fact that King had been a vigorous thirty-six at the time of Parker's demise, Hellman continued to berate her friend and hold her personally responsible for the fate of the coveted copyrights. In a gloves-off mood, she didn't mince words with playwright Howard Teichmann: 'That goddamn bitch Dorothy Parker. . . . You won't believe what she's done. I paid her hotel bill at the Volney for years, kept her in booze, paid for her suicide attempts—all on the promise that when she died, she would leave me the rights to her writing. . . . But what did she do? She left them directly to the NAACP. Damn her!'

* "I was concerned much less with the deepest sources of the religious feeling than with what the common man understands by his religion * with the system of doctrines and promises which on the one hand explains to him the riddles of this world with enviable completeness, and, on the other, assures him that a careful Providence will watch over his life and will compensate him in a future existence for any frustrations he suffers here. The common man cannot imagine this Providence otherwise than in the figure of an enormously exalted father. Only such a being can understand the needs of the children of men and be softened by their prayers and placated by the signs of their remorse. The whole thing is so patently infantile, so foreign to reality, that to anyone with a friendly attitude to humanity it is painful to think that the great majority of mortals will never be able to rise above this view of life.

"It is still more humiliating to discover how large a number of people living to-day, who cannot but see that this religion is not tenable, nevertheless try to defend it piece by piece in a series of pitiful rearguard actions." -- Freud

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