Wednesday, August 13, 2008

12 ’Av 5768: Left Handers Day/Vinyl Record Day

Greetings.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. “Tisha Be'av, the aftermath”: Interesting perspective. Jewish law, as it has come down to us, holds that the Temple has to be on Mount Moriyyah (Moriah)/Ṣiyyon (Zion) in Jerusalem. Despite this, the idea of a Temple in Babylonia is precedented. Even while the Second Temple stood, there was another, illegitimate Temple in Alexandria as well.
  2. “A Catholic Case Against Barack”
    • Pat Buchanan fails to source any of his statements in Catholic source material, authoritative or otherwise; this introduces some doubt as to whether what he has to say reflects Catholicism at all.
    • Buchanan claims that Barack Obama is “pro-abortion”, a position that your author has never heard any politician take and probably never will. Someone who is pro-abortion would advocate abortions, whereas the position that real non-anti-abortionists take is to be pro-choice, i.e., they advocate the right of women to choose whether or not they have an abortion. The difference is akin to the difference between advocating pornography and advocating governmental non-interference in people’s choice of reading materials. 
    • Buchanan talks about “partial-birth abortion” (a political term, not a medical term) as being somehow extremely offensive and nauseating without the least mention of alternate methods of abortion.  It is difficult to imagine any form of surgery not being nauseating to anyone unused to seeing surgery performed.
    • Buchanan wisely avoids the clichéd, misleading debate over “when life begins”.  He is also correct that they are human, though this is irrelevant; cells rubbed off the inside of my cheek with a cotton swab are human, too, but destroying them is not murder.  More relevant is that Buchanan assumes without explicitly stating the anti-abortionist answer to what that debate should really be about, that the unborn have the status of people, without giving any reason why we should accept this.  Given that Buchanan is a Catholic, he proves himself ignorant of his own scriptures.  No mention of deliberate abortion is made in the Hebrew Bible or New Testament, but the penalty for feticide is a fine (Exodus 21:22), as opposed to killing the mother, which can merit the death penalty (Exodus 21:23).  If the fetuses in the case cited had the same status as a person as the mother, the penalty for killing them should be the same; as such, the status of a fetus is therefore something less than that of a person.  QED.  Notably, these inconvenient verses tend to be ignored by anyone claiming on alleged scriptural authority that abortion is murder.
Today’s news and commentary:In reaction to yesterday’s weird thing, I was asked to post yet another open letter, which I have included below.  Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron



Another open letter to Christopher Nolan

We, the Batman characters mentioned below, decry our omission from yesterday’s open letter to Christopher Nolan. We charge that Mr. Edward Nygma, otherwise known as the Riddler, has an overly narrow view of what constitutes a character worthwhile depicting in a film and is too hasty to judge his fellow characters. All of us display a depth well worth exploring.
  • Arnold Wesker symbolizes the hypocrisy of the entertainment industry, promoting bad behavior in the media but disavowing it in real life. Wesker is unable to handle this in any way other than splitting his personality in two: the mild-mannered human Ventriloquist and his psychopathic gangster dummy, Scarface. This split results such awkward situations as the Ventriloquist being in love with Aunt Harriet, while Scarface wants her executed for sending the Ventriloquist annoyingly sugary love poems.
  • Aunt Harriet Cooper does things behind the scenes to help Batman and Robin, such as clubbing escaping villains into submission with her purse and making sure the Batmobile always has plenty of plutonium in its fuel tank. But do they ever notice? No! As such, she is caught between the need to make sure evil does not win and grounding Bruce and Dick.
  • Bane and Rhino are caught in the plight of all people typecast by society as “thugs” on account of their physical prowess. They are torn between connecting with other people in a brutally dehumanizing manner or suffering in isolation. All they truly yearn for is for people to recognize them as the sensitive souls they really are. Bane’s blues singing and Rhino’s self-expression through flower arrangement would feature prominently.
  • Barbara Gordon, Jr., having survived her (and her whole family’s) ordeal with the Joker, becomes obsessively interested in the martial arts, not wishing to go through anything like that ever again. A few years later, she takes on the guise of Batgirl to fight crime. While she proves adept at her new avocation, she comes to realize that her violent tendencies actually have nothing to do with the Joker but rather that stupid twerp Dick Grayson who keeps annoying her.
  • Batmite feels extreme pain due to being rejected by his hero, Batman, whom he wishes to join in the fight for truth, justice, and the American way. Ostracized and virtually drowning in torment, he is torn between using his magical powers for good and wreaking havoc for cheap laughs.
  • Chief O’Hara is secretly haunted by the fact that despite his years of hard work, superheroes are getting all the glory in the crime-fighting business. Compounding his unspoken shame is that he can never join their ranks, as he would look terrible in spandex.
  • Clayface is a victim of the fashion industry in general and the cosmetics industry in particular. In his quest for consumerism-driven physical perfection, he has become a monster. He seeks justice, and, like Batman, he has to walk a fine ethical line, violation of which will render him a monster not just in form but in behavior as well. Little does anyone realize the ultimate cause of his original desire for physical perfection is his unfulfilled dream of becoming Miss America.
  • Dr. Hugo Strange is an experimental psychologist.  He is persecuted by animal rights terrorists, and when they steal his rats and pigeons and blow up his lab, thereby ruining years of work, he kidnaps the terrorists and experiments on them, turning them into cannibal zombies.  His inner torment is exquisite and compounded by his unrequited love for Commissioner Gordon.
  • Egghead is haunted by the rejection many intelligent people feel in our frequently anti-intellectual society. This is made all the worse due to a poor research funding and a bad economy. Finding it too hard to deal with all this hostility, he lashes out criminally, all the while having to deal with a guilty conscience and high cholesterol.
  • Josiah Wormwood is offended by rules of etiquette, claiming that they are used as excuses for indecency. As such, he makes it a point to be extremely open and honest about his being indecent.
  • Shame sees the unfairness in modern society. Unable to do nothing, he dons a cowboy outfit and becomes a modern-day Robin Hood, trying to shrug aside the constant foreboding feeling that the cops are going to leave a parking ticket on his horse.
  • Sweet Tooth cries out against the extremes of the “nanny state”, insisting that everyone be free to choose what to do with his or her own body. The government will not listen, so he engages in civil disobedience and encourages others to do so as well. So effective is Sweet Tooth that he is sponsored by the American Junk Food Association.
  • The Man-Bat highlights the dangers of failing to submit experimental protocols to scrutiny by an internal review board and of drinking tequila while planning an experiment.
  • The Siren seeks vengeance against the rejection of opera in our society by annoying people into submission with her singing.
  • Waylon Jones, otherwise known as Killer Croc, highlights the alarming disappearance of the world’s wetlands. Few people pay attention to the loss of his favorite species’ natural habitat, and so he makes the difficult decision to become a terrorist to fight for the right of crocodilians to take over people’s swimming pools and eat pets.
As anyone with at least half a brain can see, we are all quite worthy of being depicted on the big screen. We hope that you will take us under consideration when making your next Batman film. We thank you for listening.
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