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“There’s no story to hip-hop—just culture”: R.I.P. renaissance man Rammellzee

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Word from a Fab Five Freddy tweet and a post on his own MySpace blog is that New York hip-hop futurist Rammellzee has passed away at age 50 from as-yet-unrevealed causes. (@149st features a great, fact-filled interview with the man.) Emerging as a teen graffiti artist in the mid-‘70s, bombing the A-train from its last stop in his Far Rockaway, Queens hometown, Rammell ended up like many of his talented peers—a multidisciplinary creative icon submerged in the nascent metropolitan hip-hop scene.  He first surfaced as a persona to the world in amazing fashion, dressed in trenchcoat and wielding a sawed-off shotgun as he MC’ed for the Rock Steady Crew in the Amphitheatre scene of hip-hop’s famous first film, 1982’s Wild Style.
 

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Discussion
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Sexual hypocrisy in Minneapolis: Anti-gay Lutheran Pastor Tom Brock ‘outed’
06.23.2010
09:48 pm

Topics:
Belief
Current Events
Sex

Tags:
Ted Haggard
Pastor Tom Brock

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I read this story about a magazine called Lavender ‘outing’ an anti-gay Lutheran pastor by crashing his gay ‘chastity’ support group with interest and a chuckle this morning. Pastor Tom Brock, a local radio personality, had notoriously linked a tornado that struck a church and the Minneapolis Convention Center to gay marriage

The story went around the Internet faster than you could say Ted Haggard. Predictably, the judgement on hypocrite extraordinaire Brock was swift and chock full of schadenfreude. The Queerty website had this to say: Lutheran Pastor Tom Brock Blamed ELCA’s Tornado on Homosexuality. Which, Uh, He Suffers From. Ouch!

But then a bunch of articles calling the reporter’s journalistic ethics to task for betraying the anonymity of a support group setting started to appear. Lavender Media’s head Stephen Rocheford confirmed that reporter John Townsend was sent into the program “undercover,” but insists—and I agree with him 100%—that Brock — who broadcasts on a Christian radio station called KKMS-AM nearly every day of the week— is a major “get” for the gay community of Minneapolis:

“I personally, and Lavender Magazine as a matter of policy, do not believe in outing anyone. People are allowed to be crazy and dysfunctional in their lives. There’s one exception: a public figure who says one thing and does another. This is not the first homosexual minister who denounces homosexuality in public and engages in it in private.”

Damn straight (ahem) and every time one of these twisted, self-loathing Christian closet cases is exposed as a hypocrite, displays of public homophobia will become rarer and rarer and this is a very, very good thing. Brock should look at this new chapter in his life as a good thing, too, because he’ll no longer be able to live a lie and hurt the very people he might otherwise (if he is to be honest with himself) be the most appropriate pastor for. Go with God, Pastor Brock, go with God, mi’ fren…

Anti-gay Lutheran pastor protest too much (Lavender)

Lavender ‘outs’ Lutheran pastor—by crashing confidential support group (Minneapolis Post)

Lutheran Pastor Tom Brock Blamed ELCA’s Tornado on Homosexuality. Which, Uh, He Suffers From (Queerty)
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Man in ass-cot slams homosexuality
06.22.2010
09:00 am

Topics:
Belief
Current Events

Tags:
Homosexuality

 
Coming from this dude? Really???
 
(via The Daily What)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Land of Look Behind: Live from Planet Jamaica

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When Bob Marley’s family called on the legendary singer’s childhood friend Alan Greenberg to film his funeral in 1982, it’s worth wondering whether Greenberg knew that he’d end up widening the scope to make one of the iconic films about Jamaica.

Shot by Werner Herzog associate Joerg Schmidt-Reitwein, Land of Look Behind seems to almost float across the island, touching down in both impoverished rural badland areas and the crowded setting of Kingston for the superstar’s stately final rites. Backed by the Kerry Leimer’s unlikely ambient score and featuring performers like Gregory Isaacs and Mutabaruka, Land… is a rich document of the places, faces, and voices of a Jamaica coming to terms with its lagging economy and post-colonial future.

Former Cabaret Voltaire member Richard H. Kirk sampled many bits of the film’s various monologues to populate In Dub: Chant to Jah and Live in the Earth, the electro-dub albums he made in his Sandoz guise.
 

 

 
Get: Land of Look Behind [DVD]
 
Download: K. Leimer’s score for Land of Look Behind [MP3]
 
Get: Sandoz in Dub - Chant to Jah [CD]

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Discussion
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Creationism in the classroom, plus a music video about the ‘Mark of the Beast’!

 
A “science” class in Dayton, Tennessee, from the BBC1 documentary Science Friction: Creation from 1996. These kids have been skull-fucked by superstition and generational ignorance. Fourteen years later and I wonder what some of these kids are doing now: if they ever escaped fundamentalist dogma or if they’re running for Congress as a Tea party candidate… Stick with this for the last line, it’s a classic.
 
I saw the above clip at Religious Douchebags, a great site that Christian Nightmares introduced to me. And check out this stupidly paranoiac and tres cheesy ‘80s ditty called Cathy Don’t Go that was posted on Christian Nightmares. Don’t go where, you ask? Listen to the song and find out!
 

 
(Religious Douchebags)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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No Kids Allowed: Scientology’s Anti-Birthing Tactics

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(Scientology’s main man, David Miscavige, front and center)
 
Today’s Broadsheet tips us off to some Scientology news that’s as disturbing as it is, perhaps, unsurprising.  According to a two-part investigation by the St. Petersburg Times, Scientology’s maritime-y power base, Sea Org, has been treating its pregnant members to campaigns of intimidation, isolation and, in some cases, forced manual labor.

In exchange for signing “billion-year contracts,” Sea Org women are given food, housing, and medical care, but being a member of Scientology’s spiritual elite apparently leaves no time for mothering.

Or so believes Church spokesman Tommy Davis (son of actress and Church grande dame, Anne Archer), who says that a no-children policy was created because babies were “viewed as interfering with the productivity of Sea Org members,” and “the long and demanding working hours required of Sea Org members…were obstacles to parents properly raising their children.”

But former Scientology security chief Gary Morehead goes several (more ominous) steps further, saying that the organization considered pregnancies “a slap in the face,” and that “special councils formulated strategies to convince women to abort.”  Interviews with some of these “convinced” women follow below:

Posted by Bradley Novicoff | Discussion
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Satan Has Been Paralyzed!
06.14.2010
07:51 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Belief

Tags:
Satan. Christian pirate puppets

 
That’s what they mean. Satan’s been literally paralyzed. He’s in a wheelchair now. Or so say the singing Christian pirate puppets. Or something.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Charles Fort: The original Art Bell

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You could call Charles Fort (1874 – 1932) the “first Ufologist”—and many do—but that’s already, um, damning the quirky author of The Book of the Damned with feint praise. Fort was more of a scientist (or scientific researcher), but not in any sort of traditional sense most people would recognize as science. A better description of his interests would be to say that what fascinated Fort were the things which were intellectually excluded by science. Rains of frogs, alien spacecraft, meat falling from the sky and spontaneous human combustion were the grist for his mill and this is what he spent his life meticulously cataloging.

Fort was also a bit of a comedian, a Swiftian satirist of science. He hated the idea of experts and thumbed his nose at scientific authority. Fort was a sworn enemy of orthodox rationality. His prose is a delight and is a part of his strong attraction for many readers. His style is “circular,” I guess you might say. Repetitive, but this is kind of the point, to be bludgeoned by the sheer force of the number of examples he’d throw at readers, into accepting the simple fact that something awfully strange is going on here.

Fort, who invented words like “teleporter” kept his notes, his Forteana, if you will, on notecards. Although from time to time, the eccentric author would burn his research, tens of thousands of his cards survive and can be viewed at the New York Library’s Rare Book Room (I’ve looked at some of them myself). In his day, Fort had his share of detracters (his friend H.L. Mencken said his head was filled with “Bohemian mush”!) but also many prominent admirers such as Ben Hecht, Theodore Drieser and Oliver Wendell Homes.

The influence of Charles Fort’s work is subtle but pervasive throughout popular culture. No Fort, no X-Files, for instance. No Art Bell or George Noory, either. Although Fort was in life and after his death, a relatively obscure writer, his work still holds a strong fascination for many people who consider him an intellectual giant. And of course there is a magazine, The Fortean Times, which keeps the flame alive as well as regional organizations of Fortean enthusiasts and a yearly convention.

Dangerous Minds pal Skylaire Alfvegren organizes The League of Western Fortean Intermediatists (or L.O.W.F.I) and she’s got a great short biographical essay of Charles Fort at the Fortean West website:

There is a man, largely undiscovered by the modern world, whom I, and many others, believe made one of the most significant contributions to the world of science. Had it not been that he vehemently opposed modern scientists and their methods, his work might be enjoying a greater popularity than it does. Had this man decided to write about completely different topics, he would be hailed as a fabulous literary character. Here was a peculiar fellow. Charles Fort devoted 26 years of his life to compiling documented reports of scientific anomalies from journals and newspapers from all around the world. He lived in dire poverty so that truth could prevail. His life’s work may one day be of great scientific worth, should the established scientific community ever muster the courage to approach it.

Anomalies. This is what Fort trafficked in. Reports of prehistoric beasts frolicking in the world’s oceans. (Loch Ness, Champ, Storsjon Animal). Ancient artifacts found in improbable places (Roman coins in the deserts of Arizona, Chinese seals found buried deep in the forests of Ireland, small statues of horses discovered in pre-Columbian Venezuela). Falls of things other than rain from the sky (red rains in 1571 England, 1744 Genoa; a rain of “73 organic formations, particular to South America” in France in 1846). Unidentified aerial phenomena (excluding Ezekiel’s Biblical description. Fort’s list contains the first known report of a so-called “UFO”, dating from 1779). These are but a few of the subjects Fort spent his lifetime collecting reports of. This anomalous data are roped together under the banner of “Forteana”, a term which probably does not exist in any dictionary, because that which it pertains to isn’t supposed to exist at all.

He who championed underdogs, has been and will likely continue to be, one of the greatest underdogs of all time. For he has not a baseball team or brooding thespians to compete with, but the entire history of the scientific world. His work spat in the face of conventional scientists. There is much going on around us that defies explanation. Fort amassed reports of events seen by humans around the world countless times, which, none the less, have been dismissed. The data he collected were excommunicated by science, which acts like a religion. “The monks of science” he wrote, “dwell on smuggeries that are walled away from event-jungles- Science has done its utmost to prevent whatever science has done” (the Book of the Damned, p. 245). His legacy, his collection of data lies before us. It is indisputable, and yet still ignored. The reports he gathered could make any enemy of science acquire a renewed enthusiasm for the subject. In his four published works, the Book of the Damned (1919). New Lands (1923) Lo! (1931) and Wild Talents (1932) we find over 1,200 documented reports of occurrences which orthodox science refuses to attempt to explain. Explanation was not Fort’s purpose. He merely presented the data, sometimes with his own speculations, sometimes with tongue in cheek. While anomalies can be entertaining, they can also be deeply disturbing, for they undermine the foundations of science, the idea that every thing in this world is rational and under control. Articles like those collected in Fortean Times and the INFO Journal (International Fortean Organization), two publications which continue Fort’s work, prove that things are not under our control, nor will they ever be. Many people, including scientists, find this discomforting and so ignore that which they cannot explain.

The Life, Work and Influence of Charles Fort (Fortean West)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Republican pol Andre Bauer compared helping poor people to feeding stray animals, comes in last

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Earlier this year, in a stunning verbal gaffe, South Carolina’s (soon to be former) Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer compared helping the poor to feeding stray animals, because they “breed”! Obviously a Republican, Bauer, a wealthy white man who flies small planes, later said he wasn’t saying those who receive government help “were animals or anything else.” (What were you trying to say, fuck wit?) Well, he lost his election bid yesterday, coming in DEAD LAST in a state where over 50% of all schoolchildren receive subsidized or free lunches from the government. Clearly his political instincts are shit. Just like his brains.

This is someone showing you the very stuff his black, immoral little soul is made of. From CBS News:

“My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals,” Bauer said during a town hall meeting, as the Greenville News reported over the weekend. “You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.”

As the Greenville News notes, more than half of the students in South Carolina participate in a program that allows them to get their lunch for free, or at a reduced cost.

Bauer later said he wasn’t saying those who receive government help “were animals or anything else.”

What an utterly contemptible ass-clown this guy is. This is the kind of comment that haunts you forever, hanging around your neck like a big, dumb, dead albatross. Google Andre Bauer for the rest of his life, and there future employers, voters and anyone else who cares enough about this twat to type his name into a search field will find people like me telling this story. It serves him right, but the thing is, look at him. Do you think there is a chance in Hell that Andre Bauer has a self-reflexive bone in his body? Not a chance. If he did he wouldn’t think this way in the first place. He got what he deserved yesterday from the voters of his state: the bum’s rush. Karma’s a bitch, Andre!

And more in politics from the hilariously funny great state of South Carolina: A random unemployed guy who no one seems to know much of anything about (update) wins Democratic senate primary: The mysterious Alvin Greene has become “an inspiration for random unemployed dudes everywhere,” as Gawker tells it. The chairwoman of the S.C. Democratic party speculated to the AP that “people who didn’t know either candidate and voted alphabetically may help explain Greene’s win.”

Random Unemployed Dude Wins South Carolina Democratic Primary (Gawker)

South Carolina’s Mysterious Dem Senate Candidate Likes Showing Sexy Pics to College Ladies (Gawker)

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Faith healer Anatoly Kashpirovsky: Russia’s new Rasputin
06.06.2010
03:01 pm

Topics:
Belief
Current Events

Tags:
Anatoly Kashpirovsky

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Although it’s fairly obvious why someone would say hypnotist and mass “faith healer” Anatoly Kashpirovsky is Russia’s “new” Rasputin, calling him Russia’s Uri Geller or even Russia’s Benny Hinn, seems like a better fit. Kashpirovsky, a controversial—and very famous—television “remote healer” was all the rage when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989, but the psychic left Russia 15 years ago to “treat” Russian ex-pats in the US (see what I mean about him being a Russian Benny Hinn?). Now he’s back on television in Russia and opinion is no less contentious. From a fascinating article in the Guardian by Moscow-based journalist Marc Bennetts:

Clad entirely in black, his piercing eyes staring into apartments across the vast territory of the USSR, Kashpirovsky “treated” millions, his voice both reassuring and oddly threatening.

“For those of you with high blood pressure, your blood pressure will lower… whoever has hip injuries, they will heal…” he droned, his litany of the suffering and the saved a potent lullaby that plunged the nation into a communal trance.

Who cared if the country was collapsing around them, if the shops were almost empty, and the threat of separatist violence in the Caucasus was moving ever closer? The USSR turned on, tuned in and switched off.

“The streets would empty whenever Kashpirovsky came on,” journalist Katya Murzina tells me. “I was just a kid, but I remember we all talked about his shows at school. Everyone was convinced he really could heal the nation.

“We had never seen anything like this on TV before,” she goes on. “You have to remember, there were basically no adverts on Soviet TV. Everything was taken at face value. So if state TV presented him as possessing these incredible powers, most people believed it.”

I suppose that would explain why anyone would be convinced of Kashpirovsky’s “talents: after watching something as silly as this:
 

 
Faith healer Anatoly Kashpirovsky: Russia’s new Rasputin (Guardian)

Thank you Chris Campion of Berlin, Germany!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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