Monthly Archives: June 2011

Potpourri

After spending the better part of the last two weeks sparring with neurosurgeons regarding degenerative vs. traumatically induced herniated discs, I’ve been ignoring anything “fun” including this website.  All these posts resurrected from the dead!  Hmmm.  Rather than comment individually, I’m gonna try to take a crack at just hitting a lot of topics in one long post.  But first, a public service announcement (click to enlarge):

Jerk Store

So Peashoot’s Canal-Pal has now crossed the line into physical contact.  Surely this constitutes assault and battery – defined in the law as any unwanted touching.  I wonder if he thought he was trying to be funny, but the tone of the post suggests otherwise.  I’m not sure exactly what advice to offer here.  Your predicament reminds me of that great line from Animal House: “This moment calls for a really stupid gesture on somebody’s part” to which Bluto responds, “We’re just the guys to do it!”  Sarcasm and name-calling come to mind, but this guy has ably demonstrated he has a short fuse.  The Jerk Store derives some sort of pleasure by harassing you so if you ignore him it might burn him more than anything else.  Or you could just trip him the next time he jogs by and explain your foot slipped.

Phelps Redux

If only this dealt with Frank Costanza’s furious outburst at Steinbrenner for trading Jay Buhner for Ken Phelps, dead son notwithstanding.  I liked the link and counter-protesters have dogged Phelps for almost as long as he’s been doing this stunt.  Certain motorcycle clubs travel with Phelps to “block” the families’ view of these people and motorcycle guys aren’t usually associated with homosexual causes.

I wouldn’t be Wild Billy if I didn’t adress a few of Peashoot and Ms. Henking’s points.  First and foremost, we need to recognize that Westboro Baptist boasts a congregation slightly larger than a Class 5A high school football team – according to Wikipedia 71 adherents, most of whom share DNA with Phelps.  This is hardly representative of Christianity in America and to suggest it does borders on slander.  Henking recognizes this in her article and employs quotation marks around the word church whenever referring to it. I was pleased to see that.

Peashoot writes, “[c]itizenship for many in this country must involve Christian ideology.”  I think “many” is a stretch; replace it with “some” and you have a fair point.  I’m not going to troll around looking for the social science data, especially since I cannot footnote a post (damn!) but I’m pretty confident that is not the view of the overwhelming majority of Christians.  That the most ardent, non-Jewish supporters of Israel tend to be Evangelical Christians illustrates an acceptance of non-Christian faiths.  While certain congregants of the more “mainstream” Christian faiths might hold that view, you would be hard pressed to cite to a Bishop or Pastor who said or wrote such an idiotic thing. 

As for the woman who adorns herself in the flag – the flag is a powerful symbol.  That’s why people burn it, salute it and lots of other stuff.  Everyone sees something in that symbol – for some it brings pride for others shame.  Symbols get misappropriated all the time.

Then we come to the contention that this type of ugly speech is a phenomenon of the right.  Peashoot hints at it; Henking gets right out in front with it, “progressives and reasonable people show some discretion in the enactment of our dissent even when we profoundly disagree with or find repulsive the perspectives or actions of others.”  Really?  Really?  I found this after searching for less than a minute online:

Before we go breaking our left arm patting ourselves on the back for being the potentates of civility, let’s see some more “discretion in the enactment of our dissent”:

How about some more discretion?

If this counts as discretion, I’d hate to know what these folks really think.  Now, the point here isn’t to get into a childish “you started it” type of row.  The point is that the far-right and the far-left are equally idiotic.  Suggesting these three images neatly summarize the views of the legitimately earnest anti-war crowd is equally slanderous.

Giving everybody the freedom of speech invariably encourages hurtful behavior sometimes.  Ward Churchill referred to the victims inside the WTC as “little Eichmanns”.  I find it abhorrent, but it was his right to say it.  The entirety of the 9-11 “Truther” movement utterly disgusts me, but again that’s their right.  Besides, I want those idiots right out in the open where I can see them.  That goes for Phelps too.

Phelps plans to picket the funeral of one of the stars from  MTV’s Jackass (http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2011/06/23/2011-06-23_jackass_star_ryan_dunns_funeral_to_be_protested_by_westboro_baptist_church.html).  The Jackass crew make Beavis and Butthead look like Masterpiece Theater and I’m sure they will be plotting an appropriate humiliation for the good “reverend”.  I hope they film it.   

Oh, and “Dogs love fags” made me laugh.  A lot.

Miscellany

I do love a good debate, but I’m tired of defending free speech rights.  Here’s some interesting – and by “interesting” I mostly mean “stupid” – stuff I’ve come across recently.  I always thought the bars turned the music up loud to drown us out when we have our liquor-fueled debates (i.e. is black a color?) but it turns out it increases consumption. http://www.spring.org.uk/2008/09/why-loud-music-in-bars-increases.php

Wondering what your favorie cartoon character’s skeleton looks like? Here’s a helpful website.  http://jamesgunn.com/2010/06/15/skeletons-of-cartoon-characters/ 

How about a beer bottle chandelier?  It will really tie the room together.  http://tabbyinc.com/store/796.html

Okay, I’m going to log off for now and start working on the periodic table posted above.

Snyder v. Phelps, Redux

On 06 March 2011, peashooter Wildbillycircusstory eloquently wrote about the 8-1, Justice Roberts’-led, Supreme Court ruling on Snyder v. Phelps, et al:

“the First Amendment bars recovery for the tort of Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED) when the offending speech concerns a matter relating to public rather than private matters.  While conceding the defendants intentionally chose the funeral of plaintiff’s son to publish their views, it nevertheless held the communication within the ‘special protection’ afforded by the First Amendment.”

That entry into the annals of Eat My Peashoot set off a somewhat spirited, and ultimately set aside (presumably to prevent endless commentary without resolution), back and forth between Wildbilly and me. As I see it, the Westboro Baptist Church business of picketing the funerals of fallen soldiers, while using reprehensible anti-LGBTQ speech, is one of those cases that makes squaring the constitutional law protecting free speech in this country with one’s conscience and moral compass nearly impossible to do. Here’s a typical image from one of the Westboro Church’s rhetoricians.

Images like this one are all over the internet. And for as long as I can remember, in the United States it’s very common, if not expected, to see expressions of U.S. patriotism (note the flag belt on the lady in the photo) brandished about like this, as if to be a citizen of the U.S. one must keep to a narrow, fundamentalist reading of the Bible. What’s more, American citizenship for many in this country must involve Christian theology. And it’s not just any theology, but a theology that espouses a far-right ideological agenda that, almost invariably, deploys hate speech to make its point. Thankfully, there is another side to this rhetoric, but it’s not as frequently covered in the mainstream media as are the dissertations of the Phelps, et al brigades.

None of this is news, of course, not to the history of this grand old country, not to Eat My Peashoot. So why rehash it now? Simply because I’d like to draw to the attention of Eat My Peashoot’s fair readers an article in a recent issue of Religion Dispatches, “What To Do When Fred Phelps Arrives in Your Neighborhood.” This piece nicely addresses the difficulties that arise for folks who want, simultaneously, to support the country’s protection of free speech, to oppose the anti-LGBTQ rhetoric of Phelps and the Westboro Church, to honor fallen soldiers, and (perhaps) oppose U.S. militarism. And there’s more. It’s an interesting and  creative piece — read it here. Had you thought about “fantasy picketing” or “fantasy dissent” (like “fantasy baseball”) as a way to move past, or somehow cope with, this issue? I hadn’t. Sure, it’s not likely to materialize. But that’s not the point, or what I take away from the article. The point of the article, possibly, is to underscore the way in which the ground of the U.S. becomes damaged when religion and politics start snogging in public, and religious ideologues — who claim to speak on behalf of the transcendent Almighty, and for this are given unlimited news coverage, and consequently wield great influence — are protected by law to pontificate hate speech.

Thankfully the anti-Phelps / anti-Westboro Baptist Church picketing, umbrella-blocking, et cetera will persist, all of which is perhaps the best (only?) civil, nonviolent antidote available. Be sure to see some of this signwork, too.

Wilco’s MassMoCA Backyard-a-palooza, 2.0

They’re baaaack – this weekend! This year Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival looks great, perhaps even sporting a better lineup than last year. I would love to attend one of these hootenannies someday, do a little camping, hang around some sculptures, and listen to great music.

As an aside: Can someone please explain to me why John Hodgman has such a prominent role in this event? His ubiquitous facetime and commentary in the media generally these days baffles me.

I reckon folks in North Adams this weekend will get a taste of Wilco’s eighth studio album, Get Well Soon Everybody (on their own label, dBpm), which is currently being mixed for release in September. Looking forward to that. Here’s Jeff Tweedy on a CBC talk show, George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, playing a track from the forthcoming album, “Open Your Mind.”

I’d like to hear comments and reactions from the peashooting masses about this clip. All that I’ll say now is that I hope it’s actually electric on the album, and that the album throws some undulating vibrations at us, often from unexpected angles, like A Ghost is Born did. I miss that music.

Fun Ride Comes to an End

It’s been a pretty hectic week here in the racing world. The rumors finally started playing out this weekend and were officially confirmed on Monday, Red Bull is pulling the plug on its NASCAR effort. Details of the actual demise are still hazy and it’s likely some outside investor will purchase the team (hopefully not to just liquidate), it’s just not clear when this will all happen! I guess all good rides have to come to an end!

All The Junk That’s Fit To Print

You know the economy is tanking when this guy is looking for work.  In other homelife news, in between preparing medical abstracts for an upcoming trial I received a call from the managers of Mac’s doggie-daycare facility.  They were quite upset inasmuch as the pooch has allegedly been tweeting pictures of his junk to Schnauzers.  While I agreed that such behavior surely merits some sanction and rebuke, I inquired why they weren’t focusing their efforts on restoring the fiscal health of the facility which is in dire straits.  I also mentioned that in addition to the two rows the dogs have been waging against feral cats for a near decade,  a new one with ill-defined objectives and without formal approval might be violative of the Dog Powers Act of 1973.  My inquiries were brushed aside as the manager assured me “junk-tweets” was all I was capable of understanding.

R.I.P. Maqbul Fida Husain, “the Picasso of India”

On 09 June 2011, M.F. Husain – the most famous, and at times the most controversial – modern artist of India passed away at the age of 95. When he was 88 years old, Husain emigrated from India to the Persian Gulf—first Dubai, then Doha, Qatar—after some politically powerful members of the Hindu right brought a case against him over his depictions of women and Hindu goddesses in his paintings. He was accused of corrupting the sensibilities of others!

Last week, M.F. Husain died in London, where he also kept a home and studio for many years. He is said to have produced over 30,000 paintings. And some of his pieces have sold at auction for over $1.5 million.  So, indeed, he’s well know in “art circles.” Yet his work is quite amazing, and has been for the better part of the 20th century and the initial years of the 21st century, and he deserves to be better known around the world by folks who aren’t collectors, South Asianists, or painters as an important contemporary artist, period. Perhaps like so many artists his death will usher in a renewed and greater awareness for his work, artistic innovation, and historical importance.

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