Entries Posted in "February 2005"
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Bill Maher on Christians
February 23, 2005
Via Relevant Magazine:
In an interview last week on MSNBC's Scarborough Country to promote his new show on HBO, Bill Maher stated that Christians have a "neurological disorder" and are unenlightened because of their faith. "When people say to me, 'You hate America,' I don't hate America. I love America. I am just embarrassed that it has been taken over by people like evangelicals, by people who do not believe in science and rationality."
And yet we wonder why "Politically Incorrect" didn't stand the test of time. I'm not Bill Maher fan. Not in the least. The man has a Napoleon complex beyond belief. But of this entire statement, Maher and I can agree on one thing: Christians are unenlightened because of of their faith--as a whole, that is.
Unfortunately, the first part of this statement is our downfall. The notion of a "Christian" in America is severely confusing. When I say, "Christian," it could mean a number of things, and unfortunately, it does. We live in the era of "Choose your own adventure" Christianity, or as I prefer to call it, "Mamby-Pamby."
As for the second part of Maher's statement, his assertion that Christians lack enlightenment is probably spot on. That is to say, most certainly aren't walking in the type of revelation necessary to make a dent in this world.
If Maher's notion of what it means to be "enlightened," includes tolerance, acceptance and carnality, then I reject his "enlightenment." Now in regards to "Christians" offering something the world needs, I'd say the salt needs to get some saltiness.
February 21, 2005
- Is the Tide is Turning in Hollywood?: An interesting Fox news article examines the change in the Hollywood climate post-"Passion." I'm not so sure Gibson's efforts have blown the door open, but they certainly have humbled know-it-all executives. But I will say this: Ice Cube is doing family films. That in and of itself speaks volumes.
- Actor Will Smith is Fat: So says the "Center for Consumer Freedom," a self-proclaimed health and obesity watchdog that says Smith's 6'2", 210 lbs (and yoked as of late) frame gives him a Body Mass Index (MBI) of 27 which means he's "overweight." Mmkay. I saw "Hitch" last weekend, and if Will Smith is overweight, then we all should just quit right now. Instead, the "CCF" should focus their energies towards these people.
- Malcolm X is Not the Hero We Exalt: Yesterday marked the day of X's death. Columnist Stanley Crouch bravely asserts that we rarely discuss the truth about Malcolm X's legacy and wrongly liken his Civil Rights Movement contributions to those of "The King." I remember being the only one in my "Equity, Justice & Race" class who wasn't enraptured by "The Autobiography of Malcolm X."
- Michael Jackson & The Peter Pan
Syndrome Spirit: I think this man may give us all some insight into the depth of confusion that is Michael Jackson. I've taken a lot of heat in my inbox for being critical of Mr. Jackson. I don't care. I think the man needs help beyond psychiatry and I don't particularly think our polite dismissal of his behavior is going to save his life. Throughout his career, Jackson has made many references directly and indirectly to the archetype of the androgynous, eternal child, "Peter Pan." Draw your own conclusions.
- Blogging Helps Employment: Nope not for me, but for Joe at "The Evangelical Outpost," his posts on Christian Bio-ethics gained the attention of "The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity". It was only two weeks ago that he announced his unemployment, and now Joe's been offerred a job with them. I'm not a hater, I'm just saying isn't there a "Center for Sensible Fashion in Politics" that's hiring?
- Howard Dean: Race Relations Coordinator: My favorite bald-headed blogger, "Baldilocks" is disgusted at the lack of outrage present in regards to Howard Dean's "hotel staff" comments at the recent Democratic "African American caucus" gathering. Funny, I started ignoring Howard Dean a long time ago.
The first time I saw the commercial for the new "7up Plus," I cracked up. I thought, surely these monkeys are not trying to pass off chemically manufactured soda (or pop) as though it were healthy. Indeed they are. The Atlanta-Constitution-Journal reports:
The familiar battle over whether to put that sugary cereal in the shopping cart has a new twist: Now the cereal comes with a nutrition claim about the goodness of whole grains.
It's not just cereal. A growing number of food manufacturers are adding extra doses of nutrients to soft drinks, snacks and sweet treats to increase their appeal to parents.
Hershey's chocolate syrup now comes in a calcium-fortified version. Cadbury Schweppes tweaked 7UP to come up with 7UP Plus, with added vitamin C and calcium.
The prospect of shelves stocked with whole-grain Chocolate Lucky Charms, which are 50 percent sugar, and Teddy
Grahams with extra calcium (and unhealthy trans fats) worries nutritionists.
The best way to work in more nutrients, they say, is to choose low-calorie foods naturally rich in them, such as skim milk, fruits and vegetables.
"Fortified junk food is still junk food," says Bonnie Liebman, director of nutrition for the consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest. "Kids and adults are much better off eating healthy foods that supply the nutrients they need."
Although I have an affinity for fried, um, everything, even I am smart enough to know that there comes a point of absurdity. What's always struck me as particularly evil is the fact that instead of introducing new products that really are
healthy to support a changing market, companies just try to convince the masses that the old stuff really is good for them.
Couple this with the fact that (pop) soda machines are strategically placed in inner city schools and we might have the makings of a conspiracy theory.
As long as they don't take away my fried catfish, I'm good.
Black Speakers Tire of February
February 19, 2005
Only nine days left in black history month. Better get in and get your fix while you can.
Growing up, my mom--a college professor--used to jokingly call this month "Black People Work Month," because in February, her calendar was always booked with guest lectures, key note addresses and such. So it's no suprise to me when I hear that many black leaders are getting sick of the demands of the month. MSNBC reports:
"The only black county commissioner in Dallas, John Wiley Price spoke Monday to 100 mostly black middle school students about history, responsibility and their futures. If he had been invited the following day - Feb. 1 - he would have refused.
That's not because of a scheduling conflict. Price no longer makes public appearances during Black History Month. Like some other top speakers, Price has grown weary of being in high demand for a just few weeks and then often ignored.
"I'm not going to be 'pimped'"
"I'm not going to be, as the kids say, 'pimped' during the month of February," Price said.
A few years ago, Price said, he was inundated with speaking requests. Then he realized that "black people were visible during February, but the other 11 months of the year we became the invisible people."
He isn't a lone rebel: Twenty-nine years after Black History Month was officially designated by the federal government, something of a backlash has begun.
Though February is still an exhilarating time for many high-profile black Americans, whose research and life experiences are celebrated, others see it as overwhelming, even debilitating.
They grow bleary-eyed, traveling almost daily, giving keynote addresses, participating in symposiums and moderating panels. And their physical exhaustion highlights an unsavory reality: Come March 1, public interest in them and their work plummets.
Such is the high price we pay for trying to compartmentalize history and cram it into a 28 day month. I still say, it's time to move another direction
In My World
February 18, 2005
Character development...character development. I'll just keep chanting that to myself as I endure what seems to be one of the hardest seasons of my life. And here I thought 2004 was rough. Now I laugh in the face of 2004.
So I think I first realized that something was odd when last week, after donning my classiest pantsuit, enduring a second round of interviews, and doing this grandiose PowerPoint presentation in hopes of landing what was once the job of my dreams, they called me to say they "offered the job to someone internally," and I was...relieved.
What is wrong with you Ambra? For the first time in quite awhile, I can officially say that I have no idea what the literal tomorrow holds. I am restless to say the least.
In my state of the blog address, I talked about some changes on the horizon in 2005 for this site. One of the sections I'm going to be adding in the next month or so is movie reviews. I think it's valuable to intelligently critique what's good and what's bad about our modern day entertainment industry from the proper worldview. I am also interested in examining films as a reflection of culture and where our society is and isn't. Busy as I am with unemployment and staring at the ceiling and all, I of course can't do this myself.
You all pretty much know my angle--I thought "American Beauty" was trash; I thought "The Matrix" was brilliant, and I think Kevin Costner plays every character exactly the same way.
If you: are witty, write well, are able to subjectively view a film and critique it accordingly, and you wouldn't give "Soul Plane" high marks, I'd love to hear from you. Everyone will get the rights to their own work, but I'd publish it here too.
Friday's Missive: Laws the should be but aren't
In light of Virginia's "Droopy Drawer Bill," it occurred to me that we can legislate nearly anything these days. So I ask, in a perfect world, what laws should be enforced? I'll start with a few:
- It is therefore made law that men (as defined anatomically) are prohibited from wearing spandex outside the house, heretofore, therein, wherein, ubiquitously, forever and ever, amen.
- All teachers, professors, and educators with direct contact with children, especially those who lean over shoulders to help with math equations must pass a halitosis test before every school year.
- Slow moving pedestrians who block the entire sidewalk will be fined $15 and required to log 6 hours of speedwalking class.
- Political Bias Laws on Campus - Some Ohio state lawmakers are trying to pass a law that outlaws political bias on college campuses. Are you kidding me? They'd be better off trying to tell Richard Simmons that he's a man. At least Ward Churchill has nothing to fear.
- Kanye, the Messiah - In a backstage MTV interview, says rapper Kanye West on his Grammy win: "It's not so much particularly getting the Grammys, it was the opportunity to speak at the Grammys that I wanted. It just felt like I served God with this album. And He gave me the world tonight. He gave me the floor. That's all I wanted, I wanted the floor." Man, that's almost as good as the people that tell me they're fasting from cussing.
- Jackson Drama - Michael Jackson was discharged from the hospital today after being treated for "flu-like symptoms." The masks, the umbrellas, dancing on top of cars, dangling kids off balconies, and now "flu-like symptoms"--okay already, enough drama please.
- Chris Rock and the Oscars - Rock (who will use a 7-second delay to avoid foul language) recently caused a furor when he said only "gay men" watch the "Academy Awards." This is what happens when you get a loose cannon like Rock to host an uppity event...people get their glass houses broken. Isaiah Z. Sterrett, a conservative thinks Rock promotes race-based hatred towards whites. What I'm wondering is when we started taking anything that Chris Rock says seriously. He's like the lunatic cousin everybody lets stand by the punch bowl at the family reunion.
When Parents Disagree...
There is an interesting conversation going on in the comments section at Booker Rising on the duties of a parent. The conversation began when Maya Marcel-Keyes, the daughter of well-known "Conservative Christian" Alan Keyes (who's been consistently outspoken against the homosexual community), "came out" publicly against her parents wishes. I don't really think the focus should be on Maya as she's only 19-years-old and it is certain that the vampires will exploit her faster than we can blink. The real discussion here seems to be about the role of parents, the definition of love, and the appropriateness of support of a disagreeable lifestyle.
A Washington Post article titled "When Sexuality Undercuts A Family's Ties," Marc Fisher writes:
Maya Keyes loves her father and mother. She put off college and moved from the family home in Darnestown to Chicago to be with her dad on a grand adventure. Even though she disagrees with him on "almost everything" political, she worked hard for his quixotic and losing campaign for the U.S. Senate.
Now Maya Keyes -- liberal, lesbian and a little lost -- finds herself out on her own. She says her parents -- conservative commentator and perennial candidate Alan Keyes and his wife, Jocelyn -- threw her out of their house, refused to pay her college tuition and stopped speaking to her.
Maya, 19, says her parents cut her off because of who she is -- "a liberal queer." Tomorrow, she will take her private dispute with her dad into the open. She is scheduled to make her debut as a political animal, speaking at a rally in Annapolis sponsored by Equality Maryland, the state's gay rights lobby.
She plans to talk about "what it was like for me growing up as a liberal queer in a very conservative household. I've known so many other people in a position like mine, where their families really don't want much to do with them. Maybe I can help by talking about it.
Since making her activism public, as well as living a lifestyle with which they disagree, Maya's parents have reportedly "cut her off," asking her to leave the apartment they paid for, and forgoing payment for her tuition at Brown University. But don't cry for her Argentina, the "good" news is, not only has the gay community mastered victimization, they also stick together. Maya's already been granted a scholarship and housing via a big LGBT nonprofit. Now let's clock how long it will take before "The Advocate" tries to make her their poster child. Anybody got an egg timer?
This whole situation hurts my heart. As I state in The ROI of a Kid, I know what it's like to be at odds with your parents for making decisions of which they disapprove. The difference? I dropped out of college indefinitely. Maya, however, made a lifestyle choice. My sympathy ends there.
Should Alan Keyes have cut off his daughter? I've heard both sides, and personally, I think that's his business. He's the one that has to given an account for the state of his family, not I. A commenter at Booker Rising asserts:
"It may be cold and harsh, but the fact is that she decided to come out publicly, and she decided to become an activist. It isn't as if she was forced into that situation, and at the very least should have weighed the consequences for doing so."
Indeed. Another chimes in:
"Just why is Alan Keyes or any parent for that matter obligated to pay college expenses for a child he disagrees with? And since when is a parent supposed to "accept" a lifestyle like homosexuality that is morally and religiously repugnant to them? If one's daughter comes home a prostitute is one supposed to "accept" it and "take them in" in the name of "love"? What a cowardly approach.
Above all else, one thing is clear: liberals do not like the fact that Keyes is remaining consistent in principle. There's
something we don't see too frequently in politics. And with that whole reparations nonsense last year, Keyes may be gaining some respect back.
Know Your Rebels: Taylor Moore
February 17, 2005
Rebel: Taylor Moore
Representing: Chicago, IL
Status: Sophomore at Kenwood Academy High School
Why you should fear her: A sought-after inspirational speaker on the topic of abstinence, excellence, and non-violence to young people. Taylor Moore has been commanding crowds around the country since she was 10-years-old. She is the youngest speaker on the Project Reality team, an organization focused on abstinence education. In addition to public speaking, Moore is a certified cable television producer and host. She hosts three shows locally on the Chicago Cable Access Network: "Making It," "Words to Live By," and "Behind the Scenes."
In addition to all this, Moore is also an excellent student ranked in the top five percent of her class and has been named to Who's Who Among High School Students. She's a percussionist, pianist and composer.
Moore has been honored by the Governor of Illinois, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, 4-H Club and many others. At only fifteen, she's definitely one to watch.
Links/Press:Taylor Moore's Website
Past Rebels: Ben Shapiro, Erika Harold, Farrah Gray, Hans Zeiger, Adam Hunter, Dwight Howard, Sheri Valera, Princella Smith