Saturday, June 4, 2016

Politics, religion, & sex

From recent correspondence

Edited by Morris Dean

Oh, to have been a political writer last month! Mike Webb, an army major drafted by the Repuglicans to run against Don Beyer for Congress in northern Virginia’s 8th District, accidentally posted porn links to his own campaign site [“Politicians, take note: Don’t post screenshots that show your porn tabs,” Justin Wm. Moyer, Washington Post, May 17].
    And a 77-year-old Tennessee Democratic congressional candidate was busted with 180 pot plants [“Proud pot-smoking Congressional candidate, 77, busted with 180 marijuana plants on Tennessee property,” Laura Bult, NY Daily News, May 21].

Whoa! The male bigots who are trying to regulate women aren’t going to like this: “Sarah Silverman: If sperm is life, then masturbation is anti-life – ‘We’ve gotta legislate that sh*t!’” [Leslie Salzillo, Daily Kos, May 25]. Excerpt:
“Here’s something that I learned that is fascinating, and it’s this: Scientists have found that sperms cells smell,” Silverman said. “Like I know sperm smells, but sperm cells have the sense of smell, and you know what that means: Sperm is life. And you know what that means: We’ve gotta legislate that shit.”
    Yes, we do. With equal rights and all, it would be sexist not to help men regulate their bodies when GOP lawmakers are doing such an outstanding job trying to monitor and control the bodies of women. The Guttmacher Institute reports 1,106 sexual and reproductive health policies/provisions were introduced in 2016 as of May 1. Sure, only 70 of them were enacted, but it’s the thought that counts. Shouldn’t we be thinking of men too? Because you know, (shhhh) men can't really be trusted to control their own sexual instincts either. Silverman believes laws need to be passed in order to enhance awareness and stop men from killing their sperm with their own bare hands. Here’s what one of the procedures would look like:
    “What we’ll do is — it’s a real simple procedure. We take a really long needle-like basically GoPro camera and we put it down your penis hole, urethra … then down into your testicular sack,” Silverman said. “We’re going to show you the ultrasound, so you can see the life in your balls.” [read more]
Louis Appignani, a retired businessman,
endowed a chair
On the free-thought front: “University of Miami Establishes Chair for Study of Atheism” [Laurie Goodstein, NY Times, May 20]. Excerpt:
With an increasing number of Americans leaving religion behind, the University of Miami received a donation in late April from a wealthy atheist to endow what it says is the nation’s first academic chair “for the study of atheism, humanism and secular ethics.”
    The chair has been established after years of discussion with a $2.2 million donation from Louis J. Appignani, a retired businessman and former president and chairman of the modeling school Barbizon International, who has given grants to many humanist and secular causes — though this is his largest so far. The university, which has not yet publicly announced the new chair, will appoint a committee of faculty members to conduct a search for a scholar to fill the position.
    “I’m trying to eliminate discrimination against atheists,” said Mr. Appignani, who is 83 and lives in Florida. “So this is a step in that direction, to make atheism legitimate.” [read more]
Jerry DeWitt,
a former Pentecostal preacher
It seems to me that atheists who need to hover together in “atheist churches” need to think more deeply about what they do or don’t believe: “In the Bible Belt, Offering Atheists a Spiritual Home” [Dave Thier, NY Times, June 23, 2013]. Excerpt:
BATON ROUGE, La. — It would have been easy to mistake what was happening in a hotel ballroom here for a religious service. All the things that might be associated with one were present Sunday: 80 people drawn by a common conviction. Exhortations to service. Singing and light swaying. An impassioned sermon.
    There was just no mention of God.
    Billed as Louisiana’s first atheist service and titled “Joie de Vivre: To Delight in Being Alive,” it was presided over by Jerry DeWitt, a small, charismatic man dressed all in black with slick, shiny hair. [read more]
The best soliloquy of Hamlet I’ve seen, British humor at its best:

“Let slip the dobermans of war: a fierce new Julius Caesar starring Mark Stanley – video” [Guardian, March 14, watch video].

Grateful for correspondence, Morris Dean

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