Spike Kinsey not only offers solid tips on getting in shape and some pretty tasty floor moves, he does so with a philosophical underpinning based on the teachings of Paula Abdul. Spike is not only a dancer, he’s a thinker. Less than a hundred views on Youtube. Show Spike some respect. He’s workin’ hard for all of us. I like this guy. He’s got a positive vibe.
“Sorry, that’s my dog Cheryl.”
Like many of you, I am sick to death of watching ill-educated and misinformed Tea party-types attempting to hijack the notion of “what our Founding Fathers would have wanted” in favor of what they and their ignorant brethren actually want. Whenever someone pulls out the “Founding Fathers” card these days, I recoil immediately because I know I am dealing with an intellectually dishonest scoundrel from the get-go, as this is usually an admission that what they have to say is totally bogus and very often has next to nothing to do with actual history. Referring to what the Founding Fathers would have wanted has become a fall-back straw-man argument of the historically-challenged Glen Beck set and it’s being rendered meaningless the more and more often it gets repeated by ignorant people wanting to shoot their mouths off on TV and at Tea party rallies regarding issues they know nothing about.
While we can’t know exactly what the Founding Fathers would say about the racists on the radical right who are protesting the plans for the Cordoba House in downtown Manhattan, we can read what George Washington himself said about religious freedom on this very in history, August 18th, 1790, in his letter to the Jewish congregation of Newport, Rhode Island:
The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet, from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security. If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good Government, to become a great and a happy people.
The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.
Not very ambiguous is it? Even something like the above would probably still fail to faze the Facts? Who Cares About Facts? brigade of the Republican party. If you are going to invoke the matter of what the Founding Fathers would have wanted, you simply can’t pick and choose from history willy-nilly to suit your argument and be considered credible. But whether they are misinformed or simply lying, however you slice it, when these folks start to evoke what they Founding Fathers would have wanted, they are almost always just plain wrong.
Over at Daryl Lang’s History Eraser Button blog, he’s posted some shots taken the same distance from the World Trade Center as the site of the proposed Cordoba House cultural center, AKA the “Ground Zero Mosque”:
What’s my point? A month ago, I wrote about my support for a group of Muslim New Yorkers—whom I consider my neighbors—and their right to put a religious building on a piece of private property in Lower Manhattan. Since then, the debate over the Park51 community center, inaccurately nicknamed the “Ground Zero Mosque,” has jumped from talk radio to mainstream conversation, and turned nasty in the process. Sarah Palin wrote that, “it would be an intolerable and tragic mistake to allow such a project sponsored by such an individual to go forward on such hallowed ground.”
Look at the photos. This neighborhood is not hallowed. The people who live and work here are not obsessed with 9/11. The blocks around Ground Zero are like every other hard-working neighborhood in New York, where Muslims are just another thread of the city fabric.
At this point the only argument against this project is fear, specifically fear of Muslims, and that’s a bigoted, cowardly and completely indefensible position.
Bravo! Here’s a link to some of the responses he got to the photo essay.
It’s painful to see how a hate-filled harpie like Pamela Geller (of the ridiculous Atlas Shrugs blog) and her rubbish wingnut bigotry and foaming at the mouth anti-Muslim racism has been allowed to hijack and steer the national debate for a few weeks. In recent weeks she’s been elevated to the new “hate lady” on cable news channels. I can’t stand seeing her fucking face. I have to change the channel I find her so revolting. Facts? Why let facts get in the way of irrational hatred? Pamela Geller represents a new intellectual low even for Fox News!
Don Letts made a documentary about the great Sun Ra? Yup, apparently so. I know what we’ll be watching tonight! How did this one slip past me???
Born in perhaps the most segregated place on Earth – early 20th-century Alabama – Herman Poole Blount rejected his name, his origins and the conventions of the time (or any other, for that matter), re-creating himself as Sun Ra, emissary from Saturn (“planet of discipline”) and musical genius. Blending Egyptology and Space Age imagery, he projected a philosophy of radical empowerment for the entire cosmos; keeping a big band on the road for decades through independence and communal living, he became a patriarch of jazz and an avatar of freewheeling space music. Turning from the punk and reggae with which he’s most closely associated to one of the key figures in 20th-century sound, famed DJ/filmmaker Letts presents the Sun Ra story in all its glory, combining powerful footage of Ra and his legendary Arkestra, interviews with band members shot at their famous group house in Philadelphia and testimonies from sax great Archie Shepp, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and other admirers.
Via Pathway To Unknown Worlds. Note that there is a download link.
Thanks William Meehan!
Illustration by Reuben Munoz/Los Angeles Times
My review of Michael Largo’s new book, God’s Lunatics: Lost Souls, False Prophets, Martyred Saints, Murderous Cults, Demonic Nuns, and Other Victims of Man’s Eternal Search for the Divine appeared in the Sunday Los Angeles Times book section. I had fun writing this:
Sometimes the best place to hide something is out in the open. Michael Largo chose to veil his wry polemic against the excesses of religious dogma and superstition in the form of an alphabetized reference book. In this deceptively benign format, even something with a title like God’s Lunatics — hardly a coy understatement — can come across more measured and nuanced, than, say, one of Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens’ slash-and-burn screeds against faith, which can strike even nonbelievers as unnecessarily offensive to those who do believe.
In Largo’s hands, the origins and customs of the world’s great religions are purposefully given equal time alongside tales of lecherous popes, greedy gurus and apocalyptic cult leaders. With example after example of often stunning religious lunacy, Largo marshals a powerful and difficult argument to refute, namely, that religion has done far more harm than good for mankind. By the time readers have traveled from entries on the afterlife and the Akashic record to those on the Westboro Baptist Church and the Salem witch trials, Largo’s exhaustive examples of religion’s excesses will leave them, well, exhausted.
Among the head-scratching notions found in God’s Lunatics is the fact that 59% of Americans believe that the events described in the biblical book of Revelation will actually come to pass. The extraterrestrial aspects of not only Scientology but Islam are discussed (each day, Largo writes, more than a billion people pray in the direction of Mecca, not because it is the birthplace of Islam but because of the Black Stone, a meteorite sitting in the Kaaba). Levitating ascetic St. Thomas Aquinas and the virgin martyr St. Agatha — normally depicted carrying her breasts on a platter — compete for space against decidedly less saintly types such as self-described Victorian-era “Antichrist” Aleister Crowley and the Robin Hood-esque Jesus Malverde, protector of those who would traffic in los drogas. (DEA agents know that the presence of a Malverde medallion or dashboard saint is usually a dead giveaway that narcotics are present.) In one entry, Largo details the staggering number of King David’s sexual conquests. (Tiger Woods has nothing, I repeat, nothing, on the Jewish patriarch.)
Although the author doesn’t hesitate to employ coldly withering prose when describing religious con men and faking fakirs, his smartly written A-Z capsule entries allow readers to come to their own conclusions. Surprisingly, the author has a lingering affection for “seekers” — who he seems to think are born every minute. Despite his clear misgivings about organized religions and cults alike, Largo still harbors a grudging respect — even envy — for those who would spend their lives questing after religious ecstasy. There’s no shame in wanting to know why we exist and if there is a creator and what his or her master plan might be — but he’s markedly less generous with those who would claim to possess that creator’s secrets or dispense them.
I’m sure his heroine would have been proud of him! Then again, she was all about people who accomplished things. What does this silliness prove?
One man drove 12,238 miles across 30 states to scrawl a message that can only be viewed using Google Earth. His big shoutout: “Read Ayn Rand.”
Nick Newcomen did a road trip over 30 days that covered stretches from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. First, he identified on a map the route he would need to drive to spell out the message. He put a GPS device in his car to trace the route he would follow. Then, he hit the road.
“The main reason I did it is because I am an Ayn Rand fan,” he says. “In my opinion if more people would read her books and take her ideas seriously, the country and world would be a better place — freer, more prosperous and we would have a more optimistic view of the future.”
Man Scrawls World’s Biggest Message With GPS ‘Pen’ (Wired)
Previously on Dangerous Minds: Ayn Rand Assholes
This is rather peculiar, don’t you think? A blogger in Germany posted the following:
I received mail today by the State Office of Criminal Investigation regarding an illustration of Jesus Christ on twitpic I linked to several weeks ago. I am accused of profanity.
Interestingly, the picture was taken in the Church of Warr Acres and is not photoshopped. Just recently it ignited a debate about the phallic depiction of the abdominal muscles.
I do not envy the police. And I do not think that the complaint was religiously motivated, but if it was, I do not consider it to be very Christian.
How can he get in trouble for THIS? It’s not photoshopped, even. Besides that, well, the historical Jesus WOULD have had a dick anyway , so where’s the beef? (Maybe there is a better way to put that…)
Mrs. Woody Martin reads a letter from one of her satisfied “Blood of Jesus Oil” customers! Use this oil and you, too, will stop seeing snakes!
Via Religious Douchbags