Saturday, December 18, 2004

Link Dump

Why Wiccans Suck is one of the most educational sites I've come across in a long time. The author debunks "fluffbunny" practioners of Wicca who seek mainly to bash Christians and claim religious oppression, and in doing creates a rich picture of a religion AND/OR secular practice that I have had very limited exposure to. I especially recommend the links page.

Beating no relation, this article rated the ten geekiest hobbies in terms of public humiliation and damage to sex life. I am happy to say that the only one I really engage in is number nine. And yes, we all know about my sex life.

I haven't read Ursula K. Leguin's Earthsea books, but surfed in to an article where she discusses her frustrations with a recent TV adaptation. It seems that she went to great lengths in writing the books to create characters who were not based on Western Eurpean races, and in doing so created a place for people of color in the mostly pasty realm of fantasy fiction. As the essay is titled "Earthsea in Clorox," you can guess where I'm going in this. She has some great insights into voicing as well in her discussion of telling stories of people of color without trying to speak for them.

And for fun, a couple of articles about a matchmaking cabbie in NYC. I tried to be critical about it, given my disdain for all things mushy, but it was just too funny.

And as we all know, I'm musically ignorant, but some bloke from a band called Erasure (yeah, I've heard of them, just haven't heard them) announced that he's HIV+. He plans to use his status toward education, which I'm all for, as prevention education seems to be declining as life expectancy for people with HIV goes up, and really, that's not optimal. At the same time, I'm doubtful. He seems to be saying that HIV is no big, and frankly, that's a bit misleading coming from someone who can afford the good drugs.

And then we have the story of an eighteen year old man whose christian high school not only kicked him out for running a website for gay teens, but outed him to his parents after he explicitly asked them not to. Last I checked, eighteen was adult in this country. They also have refused to allow him normal recourse to appeal to the school's "honor council" because the case was deemed "too sensitive." As is usual in these cases, I am forced to ask WWJD?

(For the record, Jesus always seemed like a good guy to me. I spent my formative years learning about him, and through it all he was the dude who loved, accepted, and forgave, and I kinda thought that was how I wanted to try to live life [yep, I'm only dubiously successful]. Addidionally, he is occasionally invoked as a pogo-stick and/or tap dance fanatic [and we know how I feel about tap dance], so I figured he must be pretty fun-loving and easy going, what with the not-too-picky about his image thing. His followers/religious leaders? Not so good at living in his image, as we can see in the link to follow.)

44 percent of Americans favor some restrictions to muslim civil liberties. The two most disturbing paragraphs of this article:

�The survey conducted by Cornell University also found that Republicans and people who described themselves as highly religious were more apt to support curtailing Muslims' civil liberties than Democrats or people who are less religious.

Researchers also found that respondents who paid more attention to television news were more likely to fear terrorist attacks and support limiting the rights of Muslim Americans.

Turn off your fucking televisions, stop listening to fucking fundies, and, if you really are a Christian, think seriously about WWJD? Because all of the biblical "evidence" against homosexuality (which, by the way, didn't really exist as we know it until around the turn of the last century) and the preaching against those who don't think/believe/worship like you? Didn't come from Yeshua ben Yosef, at least not in my bible. (Fun fact: I own a bible. Shocking, I know.) I won't quibble about whether or not he existed, but I will quibble about what people do in his name, because whether fact or metaphor, dude was a peace lovin' hippy with socialist tendencies -- I READ my bible, and I know he kicked the merchants out of the temple, cared for the impoverished, and befriended prostitutes. If christians wanna be christ-like, they might think about acting in a similar manner.

And relatedly, I have two links wherein Phillip Pullman discusses reading, fundamentalist religion, and the controversy surrounding the making of his "His Dark Materials" triology (another series I have yet to read, though the first one is waiting on my bookshelf). The first one is interesting for what seems a very "Durkheimian" take on religion (it talks about religion as anything that essentially sets up sacred and profane, and people who decide which is which) and how its "fundamentalist" practice (including under anti-religious political regimes) creates a "war on words." The second concerns his books and their adaptation specifically.

Lots of interesting stuff this week. I wish it were this easy to write my final papers.


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