Wednesday, July 30, 2008

27 Tammuz 5768: The Three Weeks/National Cheesecake Day

Greetings.

Worthy causes of the day: “Will Your Representative Stand Up to Big Oil?” and “Tell The Senate Judiciary Committee: No More Bush Judges”.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. “Indian politician sacrifices 200 goats to mark win”: Summary: A politician, very grateful to his goddess for victory, sacrifices 204 animals to her; animal rights activists protest. It is the behavior of the animal rights activists that is questionable, not the politician’s. Previously I had only been aware of Americans having a paranoia about animal sacrifice, but apparently it exists in India as well. And I call it paranoia because it is not rational. Notice the lack of any real justification for the objection to animal sacrifice. And what reason is there to object to it? Except for the purest vegans, every one of us benefits from the death of animals in the form of meat and leather, neither of which do we strictly need for health or survival. This is selfish, not to mention that at a slaughterhouse the killing of animals takes place behind closed doors so that whoever eats the meat and uses the leather does not have to deal with the animals’ deaths. Animal sacrifice, on the other hand, is not a mere selfish act to fill one’s stomach; it is an act of worship, and temples are sufficiently public that the sacrificer cannot ignore that animals are being killed. Now, why should an act of honest worship be more reprehensible than something outright selfish and dishonest? Why are these animal rights activists protesting sacrifice and not picketing a secular slaughterhouse instead?
  2. “EU condemns hangings in Iran, calls on Teheran to halt executions”: I find the attitude of the European Union ridiculous, as the logic it uses is unlikely to have any effect. Iran is a Shi‘ite Islamic country, and Shi‘ite Islam (so far as I can tell) is very much for executing people who commit certain crimes, with the death penalty divinely mandated for some crimes and considered theologically appropriate for others. “Human dignity” and the allegedly nonexistent “dissuasive effect of the death penalty” are not arguments that will have any effect because these concepts are not part of Shi‘ite Islam. If the European Union really wants a moratorium on executions in Iran without actually intervening, they need to make arguments that make sense within the internal logic of Shi‘ite Islam.
Today’s news and commentary:Today’s H. P. Lovecraft story, in lieu of a weird thing due to the Three Weeks, is “The Night Ocean”.


WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD, WHICH MEANS VERY LITTLE FOR THIS STORY.


Theological review of “The Night Ocean”:

I do not know how this story got into a list of Cthulhu Mythos stories. Neither the Necronomicon nor the Old Ones figure into it at all. This story is the most plotless nearly-no-plot wonder yet, featuring mostly Lovecraftian emotional manipulation. Anyone not amenable to such manipulation, do not waste your time on this story.

Theological rating: I (for lack of relevance).

Scariness rating: It not only did not scare my pants off, but I somehow found myself wearing two pairs of pants at the same time.


Tomorrow‘s story: “At the Mountains of Madness”.

Aaron
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