Friday, March 18, 2011

No News Good News

Having pretty much abandoned any hope of landing another job in teaching, and finding myself still too compos mentis to devote my non-napping hours to cribbage at the Senior Center, I figure I ought to strive, at least when the weather is crappy, to PRODUCE something that would, you know, "help others" and at the same time funnel additional revenue into my personal coffers. So I'm thinking seriously about founding a new religion.

While there may be no actual NEED for such a product, I don't see why that tiresome little detail should stand in my way.  After all, needs can be manufactured (think about stainless steel wipes and feminine hygiene sprays).  America is still the land of opportunity, isn't it?  And of P.T. Barnum.

Yet needless to say, before I start marketing pre-orders and/or digging for golden plates in my back yard, I suppose I'll have to do a little planning (at least as much as Joseph Smith and Saul of Tarsus did).  I mean, I want to be sure that I can properly translate anything that the Angel Moroni (who presumably speaks only Moronic *sorry*) reveals to me, right?  Then, too, I don't want to waste my time founding a religion that no one will want to join and support with exceedingly generous contributions and egregiously rabid fanaticism.

So, let's begin by analyzing the "successful" existing religions--those which, in Tom Lehrer's words, are best at "selling their product."  Surely if I can distill the essential ingredients that all these lucrative movements share, I will eventually obtain a rich concentrate of tenets that I can recycle as the basis for my "nouvelle fusion" spiritual stew. Not that these commonalities will suffice in and of themselves. After all, if that were the case, then no NEW NEED could be created for MY personal version of Good News Gumbo.

Nonetheless, it's undoubtedly a good idea to include in my Credo at least some of the tried and true ingredients--before I attempt to tart them up with minty-fresh additives that the credulous good folks "out there" will find so desirable that they will simply be unable to resist sending me a sizable free-will offering in return for a laminated membership/recipe card (or a magic pair of polyester underpants--I haven't yet decided which).

What, then, are the common denominators of the current best-selling religions?  Hmmm.  Suppose we start by making a (non-exhaustive) list of "stuff people like to believe":

people who suffer are being punished by God
people who suffer will surely go to heaven
people who suffer should get over it
people who exploit others are serving God
people who exploit others are evil
money is bad
money is good
sex is bad
sex is good
bad sex is good
good sex is bad
good food is bad
pork is bad
beef is bad
eating is bad
eating is good only after sundown
God hates gays
God loves everyone
God hates sluts
fetuses are people
infidels aren't people
mosques should not have pictures
churches should not have statues
churches should have statues
statues should have no dicks
the best dicks are circumcised
the best dicks are not circumcised
women should keep covered so as not to tempt men, whether the latter are circumcised or uncircumcised
women should not drive, even if they're covered up
heck, we shouldn't even have cars
coffee is bad
wine is bad until you get to heaven
wine is the blood of Christ
the end of the world is coming
it's the Jews' fault

Oh, mercy!  the list is endless, isn't it?  Whatever CAN we make of it all?  Clearly, it behooves us to categorize a bit, if only to make this blog more coherent than Revelation, less mind-numbing than Leviticus.

Category 1:  suffering and exploitation.  Successful religions seem to manage, somehow, to make both sufferers and exploiters feel happy and holy.  The promise of "rewards in heaven" allows sufferers to accept their miserable earthly lot AND feel superior to their exploiters who, the sufferers assume, will ultimately be punished in some fiery bye and bye.  Meanwhile, those who exploit are reassured by Comforting Calvinism and "fat little pastors" that God rewards in THIS life those whom he has chosen as his eternal "elect."  These Chosen People--invariably rich and usually Republican--are thumpingly confident that their exploitation of inferiors is the predestined working out of God's will.

Category 2:  sex.  God cares a lot about sex.  We humans are, in fact, God's pornography.  Evidently, he watches us constantly and, like all pornography addicts, he sometimes has bouts of remorse.  Hence, in his manic phase, he tends to encourage our sexual appetites (Hindu Shiva-lingams, Wicca fertility rites, Japanese penis festivals) but, alas, in his depressive moods, he gives over to ranting about depraved queers and slutty women and blasphemous pole-dancers in the Sinai desert.

Category 3:  food.  God does not approve of most food, especially GOOD food--at least for human beings.  His tendency to forbid us mortals any pleasant form of nourishment is undoubtedly a sort of power trip.  He wants to make it perfectly clear that  he alone is in control and that he alone has the right to pig out on lobster à l'amoricaine.

Category 4:  infidels.  Truly successful faith groups (unlike flaccid Mainline Protestant denominations and mystical one-hand clapping Eastern sects) seem unanimous in denouncing all dissenters as inhuman and condemned to death, either in this life or in the hereafter.  It is therefore OK, to use CIA terminology, to "terminate with extreme prejudice" any such infidels.  Heck, God is going to kill them eventually anyway, after which he will cast their sorry-assed  souls into hell for all eternity.  So bloodletting in the service of religious causes is no big deal.

Well, that seems a sufficient distillation of the Essence of Ecumenism.  Now I can start planning my new and improved Gospel. To hell with digging around for buried tablets in the flower beds full of deer shit.  I'm just going to let the Angelic Messenger speak to me directly, in whatever language he chooses.  I am, after all, a linguist.  Hence, I should be able to "get it" at least as well as Moses or St. Paul or Mohammed or Joseph Smith or Mary Baker Eddy. Surely if I follow their edifying example, emptying my mind of any vestige of rational thought, I should have no difficulty whatsoever finding Divine Inspiration for a sort of  latter day Sermon on the Mount--a snappy spin on some of the old time favorites (see above) followed by a compelling and thoroughly irresistible new twist as a conclusion.

(Here a bolt of lightning flashes across my computer screen.  Is it Moroni?  Gabriel?  or merely Pythia, the Screen Saver Oracle? Well, no matter:  mysterious chiaroscuro stuff always happens when religions are being hatched.)

And then, much as Breaking News Bulletins gush forth from Cable TV, my über Beatitudes spring unbidden and fully formed and infallible from the depths of my internal hard drive.  Verily, verily I say unto you, "Give heed now and listen up to the breaking No News Good News of which I am the prophet":

Tenet One:  (Exploiters).  Blessed are the overpaid CEOs, for they shall create jobs by trickling down on their workers.

Tenet Two:  (Sufferers).  Blessed are the workers and the persecuted and the poor.  They shall inherit nothing (probably not even trickle-down), but neither shall they live long enough to die of Alzheimer's Disease.

Tenet Three:  (Sex).  Blessed are those whose only sexual act is masturbating in the shower, for they shall be able to keep their abomination secret (unless hair starts to grow on their palms).

Tenet Four: (Food).  Blessed are the vegans, for they shall be neither sated nor constipated.

Tenet Five:  (Infidels).  Blessed are the warmongers, the bullies and the jihadists, for the Lord loveth a good bloodbath.

And now, the NEW stuff that should absolutely clinch the deal.

Tenet Six:  (Common Sense).  Blessed are those who use their reason to disprove or discredit any or all of the preceding tenets, for theirs is the Kingdom of Man.

And they, alone, shall truly be free.

Dang, I just botched everything, didn't I?  Well, I guess I didn't really want to be a prophet anyway.  I'll miss the money, though.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Kathleen Parker and others of her journalistic tribe are simply furious that President Obama hasn't had the, er, "audacity" to join the hallelujah chorus of red-blooded patriots who regularly and reverently recite their Credo that the United States is qualitatively "exceptional" among nations.

You know:  the notion that we're just better.  Our institutions are better; our traditions are better; our values are better and, moreover, our shit don't stink.

So the rules that apply to other nations don't apply to US.

Other nations may do evil things.  But not US.
Other nations may be surpassed.  But not US.
Other nations may decline and fall.  But not US.  

We are special--having, after all, been founded by GOD Himself.  We are number ONE and we always WILL BE NUMBER ONE.  In everything.  So get used to it.

And Mr. President, you had better start memorizing this Credo and reciting it regularly.  Or else, you go bye bye in 2012, and you'll have to live out your retirement in one of those nasty socialist, communist, fascist, atheistic countries that ARE subject to the forces of history.  So what if they have fast trains.

Shoot, Barry, just take a look around.  Anyone can see how exceptional we are.  The evidence is everywhere.

Number 1:  we are the only developed country (if we exclude South Africa) to persevere nobly in guaranteeing its citizens the priceless freedom of having no universal medical insurance.

Number 2:  we own more guns and firearms than any other people anywhere--so we are certainly exceptionally well-protected.  And we can reload mighty fast.  

Number 3:  among all the developed countries, we have the greatest number of God-fearing, church-going, born-again Christians who stand up, stand up for Jesus in defiance of scientists, evolutionists, humanists, common sense and documentary evidence.

Number 4:  we may not be very good at math or history, but by golly, we know the Bible, especially Leviticus.

Number 5:  we have the greatest disparity between the rich and the poor of any developed country (and the Census Bureau says the gap is growing impressively) .  Our very rich are just really, really, really rich.  Heck, Donald Trump could probably BUY some piddly little socialist country like Denmark.

Number 6:  we are the only developed country that continues to use the time-hallowed English system of admittedly irrational but oh-so-comfy weights and measures.  (Didn't the French invent the metric system, for Chrissakes? Let's have none of that!)

Number 7:  we have more miles (or even kilometers, if you insist) of decaying roads than any other country on the face of the earth. That's a lot of crumbling concrete, dudes. Think about it.  More ruins than even ancient Rome.

Number 8:  we are fatter/more obese than the people of any other country. According to the CDC, fully 34% of us are overweight.  In other words, we're SuperSized and you don't want to mess with us.

Number 9:  per capita, we consume more of the earth's resources than the citizens of any other country.   Also more Big Macs. 

Number 10:  our armed forces have the weaponry to kill more people more efficiently than any other army on the planet.  And we have an aircraft carrier called the USS Ronald Reagan which was built for this express purpose. 

Number 11:  we have Fox News for "fair and balanced" truth-telling.

Number 12:  we have Rush Limbaugh for culture and fine art.

Clearly, then, American exceptionalism is an indisputable truth.  There is just no way that we can be compared, as Barry Obama did in a press conference, to the effete British or the pederastic Greeks. Listen to his fatuous drivel:

"I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."

C'mon!  What in hell did the British or the Greeks ever do for anybody? What "exceptional" institutions or values or ideas originated in those pissy little countries?  Obama's waffling on this issue is simply unacceptable in an American president.  Next thing, he'll be telling us that the Chinese are going to become NUMBER ONE in 2019!

The Chinese!  How about that for audacity! I'm beginning to think that our president has been shanghaied--perhaps by the "pinhead conspiracy"--you know, those guys who keep wasting their breath trying to convince Americans that the earth is round.