Ink & Paper

Friday, April 16, 2004

Hello again. The author has survived another week of exams and has just one more exam to go next week. He would be happy, but his eyes hurt from too much coffee, so you must excuse the occasional spelling mistake today.

Before I get ranting, I have updated the links. I do this on the assumption that you will look at them from time to time. I'm looking in your direction, Mother.

Firstly, there was the primetime press conference that Bush had on Monday, April 12, where he tried to convince the world that Iraq isn't going to hell in a handbasket. Just a note about this: Bush has only ever done three of these press conferences. The first was right after 9/11, the second was right before the US went into Iraq, and this was the third. I may be reading too much into the past, but seems to me the first 2 were concerned with rather serious issues. Perhaps the timing of this most recent press conference is an indication of how worried the US government is about Iraq.

Okay, onto the main rant of the day. I was watching 60 Minutes II the other day (and my info/stats are sourced to them) and there was a piece on the series of novels known as "Left Behind", which are a series of accounts, written for the evangelical right wing populace in the US, that illustrates the return of Jesus. First some stats:

- 100 million Americans consider themselves to be Evangelical
- 58 million books in the series are currently in print
- $100 million per year profits on the novels
- The most recent novel "Glorious Appearing" is currently #1 on the NY Times best seller list
- 40% of George Bush's vote in the 2000 election came from the Evangelical right.

Okay, now onto the opinion piece. These books, written by the Rev.Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, portray a war-like Jesus, slaughtering the non-believers and saving those who have accepted Jesus as their personal saviour. Note that this eternal damnation is applicable to everyone, including all other denominations of Christianity, if they have not handed their lives over to Jesus. The books are especially gory, including among other things, melting eyeballs and skin falling off. Nice.

The authors claim that the recent (as in the last 25-45 years) liberal movement has manufactured a wimpy, loving Jesus and that their account of the Rapture (End of Time) is taken directly from the scriptures. The books are also quite pro-American as evidenced by this quote from one of the authors, which I wrote down: "God has raised up America in the last days to spread the gospel to the rest of the world." Sounds to me like a mix of good ole US Manifest Destiny crossed with a colonial-era missionary mindset.

I could take up a number of issues with this group of people, but the one that concerns me the most is number of followers. Look I understand that people look to religion for guidance and support and I think that is totally fine. But this is a rather virulent strain of extremist religion that boldly claims that non-believers are, in effect, heathens. And they are a little less than one third of the US population. Now not all of these people (I hope) are as extremist as these books are, but if the sales are any indication, there is a significant amount of those who are. And I think that is a little scary.

As well, on a personal level, I don't take to kindly to the reshaping of Jeus as a war-like entity. I'm not the most religious fellow and I do have a number of issues with the Roman Catholic church. For one, I think it is dumb that women can't be priests. But I do hold to the ideal that Jesus is a forgiving sort of guy, not out to melt my eyeballs. As an aside, if I ever ran into Jesus, Him and I would have a little chat about why I was born cross-eyed. But I digress.

Everyone has a different take on religion and it has been that way for thousands of years, which is a large part of why humanity finds itself embroilled in war all the time. But with my "live and let live" attitude, I found this strain of Christianity to be way to extremist for my tastes. Also, as the cynic that I am, thought that these two authors have made a rather pretty penny off of people's worries in these "alert-level" times of terrorism and environmental disasters.

I found this to be an eye-opening viewing experience, highlighting a topic that I think ought to be noticed and discussed north of the 49th parallel. It scares me a little (okay a lot) when I see such intolerance from a rather large portion of the population of the world's only remaining superpower.

That's it for today, I'm outta here. Cheers to the weekend.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 12:40 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Do tune in on Friday afternoon (anytime after 2pm) when the blog returns from exam hiatus. I will discuss, among other things, the recent US-Israel meeting, GW Bush's press conference, and the interesting phenomenon of the evangelical right. My my, this promises to be a doozy. Plus I'll update the links. Check back Friday afternoon for what promises to be one of the best blogs of all time. Now that is shameless self promotion.....

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 9:39 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


Monday, April 12, 2004

I think the blog may be on hiatus until the end of this week as a result of exams and essays that never end. Or until something really pisses me off, whatever comes first. Until then, amuse yourself by listening to William Hung's version of Ricky Martin's hit "She Bangs!" Yep, that's progress for ya...

Random Notes

Kudos to Mickelson for finally winning a major and getting that weight off of his shoulders.

Wilco has a new album coming out June 22. It was supposed to be earlier, but Jeff Tweedy, the frontman, had to check himself into rehab. Ah rock stardom...

Condi Rice has a doctorate in Political Science. "Ph.D. from the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver in 1981," according to the White House Bio.

Finished The Old Man and the Sea. Good read, which I suppose is why Hemingway won a Pulitzer for it.

CKUA spring fundraiser starts this Friday, April 16. If you listen you damn well better donate. And if you don't listen, then you're a fool. 94.9FM Edmonton, 93.7 FM Calgary.

I truly truly hate Linguistics. You cannot treat the English language as a science, not without a whole lot of exceptions to the rules. Last time I failed a science course, everything was pretty much black or white. English (or any other language for that manner) is not exact. Which is good, because otherwise I would have started my ditch digging career a long time ago.

I have little else to say, so until next time (Friday afternoon hopefully) mind your way. Cheers

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 3:11 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


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