Friday, November 20, 2009

There is no Messiah until I see some freaking zombies

For the edification of those who are not Talmudic scholars, here's the way I understand the Rabbinic view of life, death, and the after-life:
  • 1. You are born; your life begins when you take your first breath; life begins at birth, not conception so I'm not a murderer by virtue of having continued to have periods after becoming sexually active.
  • 2. You live.
  • 3. You die.
  • 4. When you die, your "soul" leaves your body to go to the great Bingo hall in the sky (or something -- basically your soul does whatever a soul does when not bound to a body), and your body goes into the ground. This is just temporary though. Dante said that the Jews slept in the vestibule of Hell until the Judgment. But Dante was probably an anti-Semite. I'm pretty sure that when Jews die they go play Canasta and MaJohng with other dead people.
  • 5. Then the party is over cause the Messiah has arrived and is all judgmental and whatnot. My Rabbi said that the Messianic times are gonna be "pretty rough", so when he told me that your body and soul get reunited and won't necessarily look the way you looked when you were alive my mind went to one place, and one place only: zombies. It doesn't matter why this happens, (but you can read the Talmud to find out), but just contemplate it for a while. Think about all the things you know about the supposed "end of days" and the [second, if you're a Christian] coming of the Messiah. Dogs and cats sleeping together, crises of biblical proportions, yes? And ZOMBIES. If there's another way bodies and souls can get reunited and still preserve this view that the Messianic times are gonna be as bad as Rabbinic tradition says it will... I'd like to hear about it. Cause I'm really not interested in leaving my MaJohng game to go be a freaking zombie. Messiah or no Messiah.
  • 6. Permanent afterlife - if you were good, you get the good stuff, if you were bad you get burned and turned into ashes that everyone walks on for eternity (which, for the truly evil, I can't imagine a better permanent afterlife than perpetually staining the soles of the righteous). Which is followed by
  • 7. ???
  • and finally
  • 8. Prophet.

All that being said, I should point out that there is no real consensus among Jews on anything the after life. Whether it exists. What happens. Whether there will be zombies at some point. This is just my take on a centuries-old idea that some Rabbis came up with while studying the Torah. It may or may not have any bearing on what actually happens.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Comment Policy

It occurs to me that I need to make a post about comments.
First of all, please leave me your feedback. Pretty much all comments are published, (exceptions noted below), and I want to foster conversation. It's important that there be other opinions out there aside from mine.
That being said, I have a few guidelines for comments:
*If you compare anyone or anything to Hitler or the Nazis (unless we're having a discussion of Hitler or Nazis), your comment will not be published. As a Jewish person with distant relatives (and a boyfriend whose Polish great-grandad) were exterminated by Hitler and the Nazis, I find it distasteful and insulting to compare anyone, short of an actual mass-murdering fuckhead to someone who attempted to wipe not only my people, but several other peoples from the earth. It's not okay.
*Ad hominem attacks are generally discouraged, unless you do it in a very clever and funny manner that is completely relevant to the topic at hand.
*Flame baiting and flame wars will not be published. I don't tolerate that kind of shit when I have the option to avoid it.
That's pretty much it. So, keep it civil, but lively.

Monday, November 16, 2009

You know what would be awesome? If Troy Garity, the guy playing the porn-star/patient on this week's episode of House had actually done porn. Now, maybe he has and it's just not listed (wouldn't be surprised if that's the case), but it would be nice. It would be really cool too. Porn actors are actors too. Especially since the writers just happened to use this as an excuse to make the case that monogamy=commitment. When it doesn't.

Abandoning Objectivism

I read Atlas Shrugged in college with the intention of doing one of those ARI scholarships, but I never managed to write the essay. In fact, it took me 9 months to read the damn book, and I still haven't read all of the John Galt Manifesto. I used it as an example of a manifesto in a class I took Freshman year, but never read the whole thing.
Now, it's really late so I have to be honest here: I loved Atlas. It was so emo. So self-centered and self-important. So much like I was at the time, and the sex scenes were pretty hot too. I also enjoy the way Ayn Rand writes fiction, which is strange because I can't get past page 106 in Master and Margarita or even past the first paragraph of any Dostoevsky. (I can't even read modern fiction from Russia, despite how awesome the Nightwatch movies are.) Rand's style, while traditionally Russian (read: long and overly-detailed, with a slow-moving narrative) allowed the book to take on a life of its own for me. Francisco was played by Antonio Banderas; John Galt by Michael Shanks; Christian Bale was Hank Rearden; and I, at the ripe old age of 19, was Dagny having all that dirty, shame-embracing sex with those older, more successful, more powerful men who really, truly understood what Dagny did not: you have to destroy civilization to really save it.
Ah, what a load of bullshit. It's so funny how this person who was educated in a public system funded by the blood, sweat, and tears of everyone in the country (Rand moved to the United States when she was a kid, mind you, so the majority of her education took place here), emphasized this idea of "every man for himself". It's even funnier how, despite the fact that she claims each of the characters was self-taught in their given field, everyone who reads that book whether they admit it or not knows that the greatness of each of these great characters was won on the backs of poorer, dumber people.
Hank Rearden could never have built his Rearden Metal without people to work in and manage his factory. And someone was managing the money that his wife squandered.
Francisco's fortune was based on exploitation of the noble savages of Central America who, whether they actually count as people or not in Rand's world, built the empire that Francisco inherited rather than earning.
Even John Galt had some form of learning, had some form of acquired knowledge that allowed him to build his amazing motor. Without the contributions of previous scientists, Galt (Tesla) would never have done what he had cause he would have needed to waste his entire life developing 300,000 years worth of human technology. You don't go from fired-clay pots to a sonic lock in one lifetime. It's not possible.
And no matter how much she loved trains and civil engineering (which, on its face defies the entire point of the philosophy espoused in this 1069 page tome -- civil engineering in a "one for all and all for me" society? Preposterous! Figure it out for yourself!), Dagny Taggart couldn't survive without a man. Whether it was Daddy, her brother, Francisco, Hank, or John (hell, she probably banged Ragnar too, but that part got edited out so that Rand could keep the book under 1500 pages), Dagny was never "one for all and all for me" because of her inherent inability to function as an independent person because of that damned uterus. It all comes down to the line about how she knew that she didn't deserve John's affection. Dagny made herself less because she was always trying to live in a way that made a man want her. She fucked up her life, threw away her father's company, and shamed herself into intellectual submission. For what?
Rand doesn't go into what happens when all the lights go out in New York City. She doesn't manage to extrapolate that the completion of her "Objectivist" philosophy is absolute anarchy -- oh wait, actually she does, but it's totally a good thing cause that cuts out the rabble. The idea of a person being paid what they are worth is fine, but most people don't develop any monetary worth on their own. You're either born into wealth (like all of the protagonists in Atlas), or you gain it through schooling, the most effective form of which is through the public school system (and yes, I'll admit that I am over-looking the failings of public school, because that's not my frakking point here). Public school brings the most amount of knowledge to the greatest number of people, and those people will grow into their potential in ways that would be impossible if the only option was private schooling.
Libertarianism is fine for some things like drugs and sex, but the only way to maintain a truly free society is with a social safety net that includes public school and various social programs that keep people from having their potential actively denied them because they had the bad luck not to be born a Taggart. The bottom line is, there's no such thing as a "Self-Made Man". He doesn't exist. Each person in a society is only as free as the least among them. It may not be ideal for someone who likes to think of themselves as being completely independent, but it's true: injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
More to the point here, Objectivism is silly because it pretends to be "objective" when it's really subjective. Promoting selfishness above all else is not objective, because acting solely in your own interest requires a subjective point of view. Utilitarianism is far more objective than "Objectivism", because the reality is (when things are viewed objectively) the needs of the many do outweigh the needs of the few; at least until we get skin color and external versus internal genitals involved. That's why we put people in jail. That's why we go to war with countries that are smaller than us and don't really have nuclear weapons. That's why the Cold War was a cold war, because if it became a hot war everyone on the planet would have died so that some guy in either Moscow or Washington could prove his dick was bigger.
By lacking significant forethought and objectivity, Ayn Rand made a mockery of her own philosophy of selfishness. No one saves the world by building little canals along their front lawn, and even if Dagny did get to live happily ever after in Galt's Gulch everyone there lacked the ability to be objective enough to see beyond their own needs and thus lacked the ability to affect significant change and save the world. They merely sat idly by, fiddling while Rome burned.
Good book though.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Introducing the Post-Modern Chef

I've put up a food blog for recipes and such. Post-Modern Chef!
While I possess some impressive skills in the kitchen, all of my chef-training has been in the form of eating. I have a strong sense of taste and smell, and sense-memory, so it's easy for me to put different flavors together in my head before making those flavors into food.
Of course, in my domestic goddess duties, I pretty much can't make many traditional recipes. Most of what I'll post here will be free of gluten, wheat, spelt, eggs, dairy, cane sugar, cranberries, and/or garlic, because those are the dietary restrictions I'm presented with at home. That means that a lot of the recipes here will be helpful for those with these allergies, and some recipes can be modified for those who follow vegan dietary restrictions.
It should also be noted that because I cook by feel, most of the measurments are going to be approximate, and on the low side. Remember, you can always add more, but you can't take stuff out.
Anyway, bon apetit!

Friday, November 13, 2009

In defense of Carrie Prejean

Renee at Womanist Musings is absolutely 100% right and 0% wrong. Shaming Carrie Prejean, beauty queen or not, right-wing-tool or not; for a solo sex tape is hypocritical on the part of the left who are criticizing her.
First of all, by making a video of herself masturbating, Carrie is promoting a health body image for young women in the sense that it's okay to touch your vagina, but is also helping (whether she knows it or not) promote safer sex for teens. Believe it or not, abstinence is only one of the ways to prevent, with 100% certainty, unplanned pregnancies. Mutual masturbation is another method. Especially if you're separated by a video screen.
Is Carrie Prejean a hypocrit on this subject herself? I don't know. The only thing I've heard her moralizing about is gay marriage. I've never heard her say anything about teen sex, or masturbation. Is she a bad person? No. Is she dumb? Maybe. But neither of those are even remotely relevant to this issue here.
We've all been teenagers at some point, and while some of us had better self-control, or different ideas about what was an appropriate exchange between a 17-year-old girl and the object of her affection, it's no one's place to condemn Ms. Prejean for this. It's bad enough that her mom was in the room when the video was shown as a means of getting her to back down. It's even worse that Carrie Prejean's 15 minute fame-timer seems to be stuck on 14:49. But do we, on the left, really need to sink so low as to continue to make this an issue? Not just an issue of shaming an allegedly dumb, allegedly biggoted beauty queen, but an issue of hypocricy.
I make it my mission to enrich the lives of women. Now, keeping her in the news may be enriching Carrie Prejean, but what kind of a message is it sending to young women? Think about that before you go moralizing about this whole incident. And if that doesn't work for you, imagine what you would feel like if something explicit you shared with a boyfriend or girlfriend at the age of 17 was suddenly all over the internet. We've all done something like this, so shut the hell up and get back to running around like your hair is on fire on other issues... like the economy. Carrie Prejean didn't do anything wrong.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Keep digging, Glennykins

Glenn Beck says:

"...It's hard to know what anything is worthy anymore. You have to think like a
German-Jew in 1934 for or, um, maybe 1931."

I face-palm. That's just too offensive for words. Nevermind that he was trying to scare people into supporting his sponsors. Nevermind that he gets a paycheck for saying stuff like that.