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dave bones (comment at RWS)

Thanks to a lousy Internet connection, I lost a post that focused on analyzing a thread on ACE regarding homosexuality, plus some recent posts by Clayton on the subject. Haven’t had time to rewrite it.

In the meantime (been very busy), here‘s the only thing worthwhile that this rich guy ever said:

Thank you for reminding guys what they should really be born knowing 😉 We, anti-Paris-Hilton-types, deserve to be showered with lovely gifts and sweet souvenirs and everything else that our hearts desire.

And I found a great jazzy/swinging free online radio station, accuradio.

I have to say I like the word “doucement” for the special reason that it is just one word, but it is so perfect to adapt to different meanings depending on the context used. Fascinating thing about language. “Doucement” can mean: gently, slowly, smoothly, softly, lightly, quietly, mildly, with care, and more. But it has such a “gentleness” to it.

Maybe you all knew this about medieval pilgrimages designed to see and venerate a very specific part of Jesus’ body, but I had never ever heard of it before! (further below in the text)

Pilgrims and relics: 7th – 14th century AD

Pilgrims are the tourists of the Christian Middle Ages. Like tourism in modern times, pilgrimage is an important strand in the medieval economy. It needs careful nurturing. Even Rome, the centre of western Christianity, benefits from special offers to attract the tourists – such as the plenary indulgences available, from 1300, to Roman pilgrims in a jubilee year.

Lesser cities and towns need a compelling attraction to bring the pilgrims, and no draw can compete with that of an exceptional relic. Long a feature of other religions, such as Buddhism, holy relics become an obsession in medieval Christianity.

The most desirable relics are those connected with Jesus himself. The True Cross is so valuable as to provoke warfare between the Byzantine empire and the Persians. The exquisite Sainte Chapelle is built in Paris specifically to house the Crown of Thorns.

Physical remains of Christ incarnate would be irresistible, but the doctrine of the Resurrection makes any such fragment a theological impossibility. There is only one exception – the relic of the Circumcision.

The foreskin of Jesus, cut from his body during his first days on earth, is so desirable that as many as fifteen versions of it are on show to pilgrims in different medieval churches. [15 versions!! too funny]

Another famous example of the Holy Foreskin can be seen by medieval pilgrims at one of the great French pilgrimage centres, Chartres – where the relics also include the Holy Tunic supposedly worn by the Virgin Mary when giving birth to Jesus.

Such relics of the Holy Family are of necessity rare. The objects more often on display are sometimes highly imaginative (pilgrims to Canterbury can see some of the clay left over after God fashioned Adam).

Other highly imaginative relics include:

– a vial of the Virgin’s milk; [by that time 1500 years old, but just as if it were fresh – a miracle! 😉 ]
– Christ’s portrait painted by no hand;
– St. Thomas’ finger which touched Christ’s wounds;
– St. Peter’s chains;
– the heads of Sts. Peter and Paul; [What?? I wonder what in the world these relic heads would have looked like like…]
– the laws which God gave to Moses.

From which we conclude there was no end to the cleverness of some salespeople in the middle ages…

A manners manual for young noblemen, by Giovanni della Casa, early 16th century, includes these gems:

– The gentleman must not put his foot on the (meal) table or relieve himself in public.
– When speaking he must not wave his hands around as though swatting flies.
– He should not leave his study with his pen behind his ear.
– After blowing his nose he should not open his handkerchief and look in it, as though there were pearls and rubies there.
– He should not sniff the wine or food that others are about to consume or even sniff his own.
– He should not smack his lips when eating.

as though swatting flies… LOL
open his handkerchief and look in it, as though there were pearls and rubies there… too funny

At least they used handkerchiefs, as opposed to the disgraceful modern plebs that never carry a hanky around and spend hours making the most gross nasal noises in order to keep their nose water from spilling out.

(manual mentioned in the book: Pietro Bembo, Lover, Linguist, Cardinal.)

I don’t know if where you are you get this, but everyday when I go out, I get to see a variety of mothers strolling along their babies on baby-carriages and strollers. And it’s just lovely, it can be very hot or freezing cold, there they are, anywhere from leisurely promenading to lively cruising, just a lovely scene of moms and their babies.

In case you didn’t know, the baby carriage was invented in 1733 by English architect William Kent for the 3rd Duke of Devonshire’s children. The first baby carriages were designed to be pulled by dogs or Shetland ponies and were large and bulky!

Can you imagine:

“Honey, I’m going to take the baby out for a stroll.”

“I’ll have the pony ready in just a second.”

As they developed through the years suspension was added, making the ride smoother for both the baby and the person pushing it.

Uh, no kidding, anyone who has been on a vehicle with little or no suspension knows the value of that!

A human-powered baby carriage was not developed in the United States until Charles Burton came up with the idea in 1848.

That’s more than a century afterwards! Took humans long enough to have that idea!!!

Pedestrians, in America at least, did not take kindly to Burton’s invention at first as inexperienced operators tended to run into them.

too funny! It reminds me of those subway scenes in certain countries where the doors open and instead of the people who are exiting taking one side and the ones entering, the other, they just moronically colide into one big mess! LOL

A discussion where I criticized all the ridicule and maliciousness that was dumped on the victims of the fake breast-examining doctor case. As if he presented himself as some pervert and the women simply did not suspect anything because they were “stupid.”

My comments on someone’s blog:

Obviously, that’s not how he goes about it. It’s not too hard to imagine how an old guy could come up with a whole act that he is part of the Department of Community Health, they are doing a cancer education program, says he is a doctor, and that he wants to talk to her about prevention, he blabbers, later, he offers to do a cancer screening exam, etc etc. I could see some women getting tricked by it.

Which were answered by:

Tricked? Nope. This falls clearly in the category of “stupid.”

Alessandra wrote:

Totally disagree. No one ever deserves to get molested because they were naive. The assumption that these women wanted to be sexually assaulted is what is disgusting.

People lie all the time about very serious issues and others around them can are easily tricked.

There are people who are very good impersonators, and some are even involved in serious crimes.

People’s ability to be suspicious also has to do past experience/knowledge and their educationa/cultural level.

This is another example where lack of knowledge in psychology makes people blame the victims, not to mention the nasty ridicule.

Answer:

Any twit with a half of brain would know that a physician will never do door-to-door breast exams. You aren’t talking naivete here, these are women who are just plain stupid and they are so stupid it is insulting to the rest of us. They aren’t too young, they aren’t feeble minded with age, and they should be more worldly at those ages; they have been to a physician before, I would think, and should understand the ropes. You can’t excuse their stupidity without recognizing that this is exactly what it is… stupidity.

Alessandra wrote:

The fact that they were naive does not take away their personal responsibility.

What is “stupid?” Are you suggesting they had mental retardation? Have you not heard of the tens of thousands different scams that humans have successfully invented as they pass off as someone or other ? Many work based on psychological manipulation.People’s minds go far beyond their intellectual abilities and this is where psychology comes in, and quite often completely overrides rationality.

People aren’t born with knowledge or the capacity to know everything and to suspect correctly everything, you must be completely snotty to think if someone somewhere hasn’t acquired the same knowledge you have, it is because of a low IQ.

Answer:

Alessandra you just contradicted your point by saying: “The fact that they were naive does not take away their personal responsibility.”

Alessandra wrote (after searching and finding more tidbits of information that show that my initial assumptions were right on target!):

Only if you mistake what I wrote for implying that no one should ever have any responsibility over anything – which is a big incorrect distortion. Or that naiveness equates to no one having to have personal responsibility. Another incorrect distortion. Or that only people who didn’t fall for the scam have personal responsibility. Either you didn’t understand what I wrote or you jumped to very mistaken conclusions about it.

Take the typical scams where someone pretends to be an agent that needs to process a certain fee and asks for the target’s bank account information. Depending on how the scam person presents themselves, they can succeed in posing as some official agent and getting illegally the information they seek.

This does not mean any person who is contacted by such a scam artist has no responsibility over their financial information. Everyone has personal responsibility always. But if the way you decode the situation is not enough or is not appropriate for you to perceive the situation as a scam, you will be tricked. And factual information is only one component, other psychological dynamics can even completely override data, which is how we respond to people on a psychological level.

This means that you still are responsible for trying to advert any scam, but your ability to do so can be impaired based on lack of factual data and psychological dynamics. So, if a person didn’t choose to be tricked, and was tricked, even though they still have personal responsibility over their lives, to blame them is to blame the victim.

re this case, I found this: “Authorities believe he targeted women who don’t speak English well and women who don’t have health insurance.”

What does this tell you? He was going exactly for women who would have trouble figuring out it was a scam. Women who don’t speak much English could certainly have a much lower awareness level compared to educated people about how doctors behave in the US, or compared to many Americans who are quite familiar with the behavior of the medical community; such women could be easily fooled, they might have not that much schooling, and this information that lots of bloggers believe every woman is born with was just not there for them.

Same for women with no health insurance, who could be poor, not that educated, and lack the necessary info to know that a hospital wouldn’t send a doctor door-to-door like that – which is what I read his line was.


It’s sad to see how the media (and the blogosphere specially) just made one big tawdry joke of the victims. And it’s particularly cretinous the action of totally blaming the victims, as if doing this showed intelligence.

Below is a comment from ACE thread that actor Charlie Sheen has been caught by (ex?)wife viewing child porn (including homosexual child porn). It’s not the particular person who made the comment who matters at all here, it’s the contrary, it is a perfect example of a view that is found in millions of people (certainly including liberals and conservatives).

I couldn’t care less if stupid Charlie Sheen is into gay porn or any of that. It’s the CHILD porn that makes me wonder why that fucker isn’t in jail.

And I’d be willing to bet there are at least a few here who think the “pigtails, braces, hairless” look is something they’d like as well. Probably not too many parents of young girls (or boys, if that’s your bag), though.

There’s something seriously fucking wrong with that shit. Even if the girls are 18+ and just dressing up, the attraction to “children” is just PLAIN WRONG. SICK.

Whence we conclude that one fundamental cornerstone of a certain ensemble of views that are simultaneously pro-adult-porn and anti-minor-porn is that it displays a concern only with violence against minors.

Which is a very stark contradiction in terms, since porn advocates an understanding of sex that normalizes huge components of sexual violence and degradation for adults (in a variety of explicit and less explicit ways).

My take on the underlying psychological dynamics is that there is no identification or thought of adults as potential victims of sexual violence, nor any empathy for the problem, specially by people who are privileged enough to have a sense of security (whether more real or illusory).

We see that in this pro-adult-porn and anti-minor-porn view, there is no thought that adults can be endangered and suffer sexual violence which is promoted by porn culture. Although any adult who is potentially at risk obviously needs protection, the only category that merits a feeling of protection are minors (since for obvious reasons children can be relatively more vulnerable, taking a broad generalization).

Also related to the above idea is the correlate that mass production of porn culture is not related to attitudes and behaviors that culminate in sexual harassment. Porn culture promotes a harmful degree of aggression, not simply an assertive one, but one which includes degrading and dehumanizing sexual attitudes and behaviors, a cornerstone of various psychological processes that will give an individual their internal green light to commit harassment or violence.

Posted by alessandra at April 22, 2006 11:20 AM

Interesting article on how television conditions harmful values/attitudes (and consequently behaviors) of teens and children (focus on Jamaica and music videos).

Aggressive promotion of an acquisitive, consumerist culture among television viewers, children in particular —‘Must have’, ‘I want it now’—Mantras of instant gratification supported by merchandising without mercy. Someone describes what now obtains in America as “the corporate seduction of kids”. Take Pokemon for example. For the life of me I couldn’t understand why these ugly little things were so popular among children. Then I studied the marketing strategy and the way everything was bundled and interrelated and I did get it. Television was one just one part of the overall mix. There were the trading cards, the branded clothes, the little ‘Pokemon people’, websites, chat room, newsletters and the list goes on and on. Originating in Asia , this product took the children market by storm. But Pokemon on television in Sweden didn’t end with the standard jingle and clever extortion to kids, “Gotta catch ‘em all.” That was deemed to be stealth advertising, being used to push the Pokemon playing cards and was therefore banned.

We’ve all seen the mayhem in toy stores and supermarkets when parents refuse to acquiesce to the pressures from their children to purchase products seen on TV. While the United States is big on child abuse and anti-corporal punishment, we in the Caribbean tend to be more lax. So we have children being bashed around and brutally beaten for wanting the very things which television tells them they ‘must have’.

[Is this horrendous or what?]

This double standard and mixed messages are confusing for children and harmful to their health. In the same way they told that they must have the toys, video games etc. being advertised, children are also told they must have the food and the caffeine laced sodas in order to be ‘cool’. The world is now faced with an epidemic of obesity and television advertising has come in for a fair share of the blame. For American children the obesity rate for 6 to 12 year olds has tripled over the past thirty years, moving from 5 to 16%. While unable to source the current figure, twenty years ago approximately 20% of girls in the 10 to 19 years age range in Barbados were already obese. Today the figure is likely to be higher although this island has pretty much managed to keep out American fast food chains. But for how long? Not long, if Barbados intends to remain in WTO where the fundamental philosophy is market liberalization.

• Sex sells, and underage sex sells even more.

In Jamaica we hear of school girls exchanging sexual favours for money so that they can buy the latest ‘bling’ things that they see paraded by young girls like themselves in music videos and on TV in general. The clothes, the hairstyles, the jewellery all fall in the category of ‘must have’ for many teenage boys and girls. The kinds of behaviours they see in television advertising and on music videos, which I argue have now become largely soft pornography programmes and virtual infomercials for fashion designers, are fast becoming ‘must do’ behaviours. A supplier of Jamaican programmes to cable television in New York once told me that he didn’t need to market pornography because he had the Jamaican dancehall music videos. Many music videos positively position sex alongside cigarette smoking and drinking alcohol. Research conducted in 1994 found that almost 26% of MTV videos contained smoking, while 20% of the 500 different music videos selected at random from four TV networks showed drinking. In one third (1/3) of the cases alcohol use occurred in conjunction with sexual behaviour.

Also:

[…]

What do these statements tell us? The adolescents believe that music videos give them the OK to have sex, after all everybody they see in these videos are ‘doing it’, furthermore the videos encourage unprotected sex since as one girls pointed out, you hardly ever hear a video talking about use a condom. Interestingly, even the young ones in the 10 to 12 years age range mentioned the ways in which music videos are beginning to promote homosexuality.

Shoving homosexuality down’s girls throats is more like it.

We hear girls blaming the way men behave on what they see and hear in the music videos. And we hear boys blaming the increased sexual activity among girls as a consequence of what these girls see portrayed in the videos. One really bright and eloquent older adolescent boy told me that in his attempts to court a girl he presented himself as someone very driven. Her response was that rather than a man who is ‘driven’, she prefers a man who drives. So a hard working man is no longer an attractive option, rather it’s men like those in the videos that girls aspire to catch; The ones with the fancy, fast cars, the bling and the ‘bitches’—that’s how women are referred to in many of the rap/hip-hop songs.

The ugly minds of liberals/pro-homosexuality people.

I wrote this to a guy that thinks calling women sluts and being offensive to them is an example of being a Christian:

That’s interesting because if you can’t tell the difference between porn and the Bible, or the fact that Jesus didn’t go around being obscene, vulgar, and putrid regarding women and sexuality means that what you think of “religiosity” isn’t very Christian.

He then tried justifying mixing sexuality with degradation and offense by nothing less than the Bible!

Actually, the ancient Middle Eastern version of porn is in the Bible. You might be interested in a study of the Song of Solomon sometime, which is an example of the erotic literature of its time that extols the wonders of a concubine. It is, nevertheless, another divinely inspired message from God to us, and another revelation of His love for us. The cultural context changes; today we recoil in horror at the institution of concubinage, which is a polite way of referring to female sex slaves. But God’s message to us never changes.

Here is a bit of the Song of Solomon (read it all)-

My beloved is all radiant and ruddy,
distinguished among ten thousand.
His head is the finest gold;
his locks are wavy,
black as a raven.
His eyes are like doves
beside springs of water,
bathed in milk,
fitly set.
His cheeks are like beds of spices
yielding fragrance.
His lips are lilies,
distilling liquid myrrh.
His arms are rounded gold,
set with jewels.
His body is ivory work,
encrusted with sapphires.
His legs are alabaster columns,
set upon bases of gold.
His appearance is like Lebanon,
choice as the cedars.
His speech is most sweet,
and he is altogether desirable.
This is my beloved and this is my friend,
O daughters of Jerusalem. (Song 5:10-16 RSV)

Sordid, depraved, and sleazy, isn’t it? Just like porn, isn’t it?

And read this review in case you are not familiar with it:

The book of Proverbs is the expression of the will in man, summed up in the most quoted of the proverbs, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him [that is the choice of the will], and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) The mind and the heart together must apply knowledge to the direction of the will to choose the right way. All through Proverbs you will find the emphasis is on the appeal to the will.

Now if the book of Job is the cry of the spirit, and Psalms, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes the cry of the soul, the Song of Solomon is preeminently the cry of the body in its essential yearning. And what is the essential yearning of the body? For love. Therefore, the theme of this book is love. It is an eastern love song, an oriental love poem, and there is no use denying that. It is frankly and fully that. It is a revelation of all that was intended in the divinely given function that we call sex. It is sex as God intended sex to be, involving not just a physical activity, but the whole nature of man.

For sex permeates our lives; Freud was right about that. But sexual response and impulse touches us more than physically. It also touches us emotionally, and even spiritually; God made us that way. There is nothing wrong with this. But this is where Victorianism went astray. It was pushed to extremism by the enemy. (This is always the devil’s activity — to push attitudes toward sex into extreme positions.) So sex went into prudishness, as though it were some unmentionable subject, as though it were something that should be kept locked up in drawers and hidden away behind curtains.

But that is not the way you find it in the Bible. In the Bible, sex, like every other subject, is handled frankly and dealt with forthrightly. It is set forth as God intended it to be. So first and foremost, the Song of Solomon is a love song describing with frankness and yet with purity the delight of a man and his wife in one another’s bodies. There is nothing pornographic or obscene about it, nothing licentious. As you read though it, you can see how beautifully and chastely it approaches this subject.

The book comes to us in what we would call musical play form. The characters in this play are Solomon, the young king of Israel — this was written in the beginning of his reign, in all the beauty and manliness of his youth — and the Shulammite. She was a simple country lass of unusual loveliness who fell in love with the king when he was disguised as a shepherd lad working in one of his own vineyards in the north of Israel.

In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon tells us that he undertook expeditions to discover what life was like on various levels. Once he disguised himself as a simple country shepherd lad, and in that state he had met this young lady. They fell in love, and after they had promised themselves to each other, he went away and was gone for some time. The Shulammite girl cries out for him in her loneliness.

Then comes the announcement that the king in all his glory is coming to visit the valley. While the girl is interested in this, she is not really concerned because her heart longs for her lover. But suddenly she receives word that the king wants to see her. She doesn’t know why until she goes to see him, and discovers that he is her shepherd lad. He takes her away and they are married in the palace.

The play is set in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, and a chorus of singers, referred to as the daughters of Jerusalem, asks certain leading questions from time to time during the account of the events leading up to the courtship, betrothal and marriage. The Shulammite girl addresses them on three occasions. It is interesting to note that the word “Shulammite” is the feminine form of Solomon. Therefore we would call this lady Mrs. Solomon. She is the bride, and we read of her encounter with this young man their courtship and the strength and the methods and the delights of love.

My reply to his snide justification:

Given that there was a lot of sexual violence and degradation in ancient times as there is now, and I would imagine coupled by even more serious cultural denial than at the current moment, I find it puzzling that you equate what is mostly a love poem between a bridegroom and a bride to “ancient porn,” either by modern or ancient standards. However, even if this is the most erotic/explicit material ever produced in ancient times, it only means that ancient society curtailed the mass production of the equivalent diseased, destructive sexuality materials that today’s pigsty is obsessed with.

It is intriguing that you are completely unaware of the differences that exist between Hustler magazine, between sexually torturing people for a diseased pleasure, between sexual degradation of all kinds that are bandied about as “entertainment” and what the Song of Solomon talks about. It is also quite sad that you choose the Song of Solomon to justify being vulgar and demeaning with women.

But perhaps that is because we go to different churches. For example, if your pastor’s sermons center on how to excrement on people, how to commit adultery with interns, how to rape women “because they like it,” how to degrade women with all kinds of animals, how to be a pimp and a ‘ho, and the benefits of a homo sauna – how could it ever dawn on you that those are not exactly God’s messages?

If the pastors of your Church preach that a healthy and respectful relationship is one between a man and a woman, donkeys, homo saunas, prostitutes, and kids, how could you know that there is a bit of a difference between porn and the Bible ? Yes, it must all be very obscure for you, because you are simply naive, and not something else.

“which is a polite way of referring to female sex slaves. But God’s message to us never changes.”

On the other hand, if the Inquisition used the Bible to justify murdering and torturing people, including small children, I guess there is no end to what the Bible ends up being used to justify, even when it couldn’t be farther away from Jesus’ teachings.

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