Tuesday, July 22, 2008

19 Tammuz 5768: The Three Weeks/Pi Approximation Day

Greetings.

Worthy causes of the day: “Tell the House Judiciary Committee to hold Karl Rove in contempt and send him to jail” and “Power America with Cheap, Clean Energy in 10 Years? Yes We Can!”

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions: “Jewish-Muslim spat sours Saudi interfaith meeting”. The spat centers on Zionism. (Anyone with a link to the relevant video, please let me know. The details given are few.) But apparently at least some people are seeing through the sham nature of the Saudi interfaith conference held unimpressively outside of the arch-intolerant Saudi Arabia:
Rabbi David Rosen of the American Jewish Committee had said earlier the event would be little more than a photo opportunity unless it led to a follow-up in Saudi Arabia with Israeli Jews.
The article also notes that no followup conference is currently planned.

Today’s news and commentary:In lieu of a weird thing, today’s Lovecraft story is “The Hound”, with the review below.

Aaron


WARNING:  SPOILER ALERT!

Theological review of “The Hound”:

This is the story of two people who rob graves for kicks and receive posthumous retribution when they steal an unusual jade pendant.

This is a variation on “The Doom That Came to Sarnath”, only on a smaller scale. Instead of an offended god manifest in an idol, there is an offended dead magician. And instead of leveling a whole city, the magician sends bat monsters after any of the living in whose possession the pendant is. The story comes off just as lame, only more theologically unbelievable. There is nothing intrinsically impossible about a god acting self-centered and cruel. The dead acting self-centered and cruel is another matter entirely. Someone dead acting in this world as a dead person is a cliché out of ghost stories which is never satisfactorily explained when the dead are supposed to be compelled by a deity, karma, or the laws of physics to go on to an afterlife, be reincarnated, or disappear into oblivion. One could claim that the dead magician uses magic to keep him out of Hell or from becoming truly nonexistent, but if he has such phenomenal powers, why does he remain as a corpse lying in a grave rather than living a presumably more pleasant human existence?

More notable is that this story, unlike “The Doom That Came to Sarnath”, securely links itself with the Cthulhu Mythos by claiming that the pendant is decorated with symbology from Abdul Alhazred’s Necronomicon, the dreaded book of dead names which recurs in Lovecraft’s stories. At the moment the Necronomicon is just morbid reading for the grave-robbers; only in other stories do the dangers of this book manifest themselves.

Theological rating: D (for lack of originality, plausibility, and mechanism).

Scariness rating: My pants remained firmly in place.


Next up for tomorrow: “The Festival”.
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