Thursday, March 15, 2007


Good for Pete Stark:

Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), a member of Congress since 1973, acknowledged his nontheism in response to an inquiry by the Secular Coalition for America. Rep. Stark is a senior member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and is Chair of the Health Subcommittee.

Although the Constitution prohibits religious tests for public office, the Coalition's research reveals that Rep. Stark is the first open nontheist in the history of the Congress. Recent polls show that Americans without a god-belief are, as a group, more distrusted than any other minority in America. Surveys show that the majority of Americans would not vote for an atheist for president even if he or she were the most qualified for the office.

This is so painfully obvious that it scarcely merits mentioning, yet it deserves repeating. Americans routinely proclaim just how pious and godly we all are, yet statistically are routinely boggled by even the simplest of questions that even godless atheist heathens like myself know the answer to. And if this whinging response is any indication of the theta patterns over at Jeebus King of America, Inc., it's no wonder that we are where we are.

Well, God is crying, and I can't stand it. All that work for nothing -- trees and flowers, oceans, lakes and rivers, to say nothing of the stars; not even a proper "thank you." The atheists can scurry for proof, but this kind of press coverage tells me they don't know even what they are looking for.

It is precisely this sort of ideological and ontological incoherence they look for in a candidate, which is why we're constantly overrun by moralizing bozos, instead of, say, responsible adults who can keep their crushes to themselves and just attend to the business of running a statist construct for the common weal.

Seriously, this broad would not be out of place on one of The Onion's Two Cents parodies. Her own invocation of the wonderment of the celestial firmament pretty much obviates the necessary singularity of earthly humans being the apotheosis of creation.

The only other possibility is that every other habitable planet is also overrun with hand-wringing, pearl-clutching ninnies who can't get out of their own way, in which case a reverse big bang might not be such a terrible idea.


Anonymous said...

Yes, because if you don't believe in anything, you will believe anything, and that's a scary way to govern.

Oh for fuckssakes, at least Ivan Karamazov grappled with this in a more poetic and entertaining way. This shit-for-brains idiot is just infuriating. I'll bet you a shiny new quarter that most Christians have never even met an atheist to begin with.

And she says this after we've all seen what happens when a leader thinks God's whispering in his ear, but an atheist prez - now that would be a scary way to govern!

Speaking of idiots, good work over at the Poor Man's re:thanksralph!. I really only appreciate that site for the comedy, which is great, because The Editors and his boy wonder sidekick can sure act like the most arrogant bastards when they think they know something.

Heywood J. said...

For some reason I was thinking it was Chesterton who started that "if you don't believe in something, you'll believe anything" shit. It's been a while since I read anything from that era.

I'm loath to return to the Nader-hater well already, but I am working on a post for the weekend warriors. I'm intrigued on how quickly that conversation deviated from its original scope, and I'm starting to wonder if there isn't a general undercurrent of resentment, and why it seems to be resurfacing in different areas all of a sudden.

Or is it just following me around?

Anonymous said...

The formulation I'm most familiar with is "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything", and that may well have been Chesterton for all I know. I was just thinking of Dostoevesky's famous "Without God, everything is permitted!" as spoken by Ivan. But I'm not really sure how long that trope has been around.

I know that almost all the liberal blogs throughout 2003-04 kept a constant vigil over Nader's every move, and I really don't recall any of them deviating from the Democrat MAD! Democrat SMASH! script. It's just one unfortunate reminder that the herd mentality isn't exclusive to the right. I imagine it'll be around at least as long as all the good Clinton conspiracies (Ron Brown was MURDERED!!!1! because he knew too much! He had a bullet hole in his skull!!!). Those sorts of things almost seem to serve as surrogate religious beliefs for some.

And yes, I really have heard the Ron Brown theory; I didn't make that up as a joke.

Heywood J. said...

I'm sure the trope predates Dostoevsky and Chesterton by 13 or 14 centuries. What it really sounds like to me is something culled from the authoritarian taxonomy of St. Augustine. I don't know if that's actually the case, but it sounds like early-church ideological consolidation and re-interpretation of various sentiments from the Gospels (except, of course, the Gospel of St. Thomas, which would have essentially made churches obsolete).

I really didn't read very many blogs before I started my own; I basically made the jump from chat forum denizen to the successful banana-stand proprietor you see today. Still, I get that in '03-'04 there would still be some resentment against Nader. That makes sense.

But given how he was a complete non-factor in that election, it should be apparent by now that no one will ever vote for the guy again. It's just not even worth bothering with, yet they keep picking that scab, all the while refusing to acknowledge or discuss why, say, Saint Al lost his own state by four points, or for the thousandth time, why all those precious swing voters are exempt from any of their scorn, seeing as how they defected straight to Fredo, rather than simply helping him indirectly as the Naderistas supposedly did.

It's a very convoluted, selective parsing of blame -- rant about the people who are no longer a "threat"; forget about the jerkoffs that are still in play. Shit, even the Republicans knew when to let the whole Perot '92 thing go finally.

I remember hearing that Ron Brown thing maybe two weeks after the plane crash. Hilarious. That was about the time Rash Limpballs' short-lived teevee show was on, and Rash got mucho play out of showing the infamous clip of the eeeevil Clenis smiling as he left Brown's funeral, talking to a colleague. Smiling and laughing! Well, that could only mean one thing -- Bubba popped a cap in Brown's dome, then had 40 other people on the plane die to help cover the whole thing up with a "crash" in "fog" and "bad terrain".

I mean, I likes me a good conspiracy theory once in a while, but shit, I've heard street people come up with better ones than that.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I liked to taunt my wingnut family members by asking if they really believed that Bill had such a devoted cult at his beck and call that one of them offered to man the suicide mission aboard the plane just to take out Brown. Or, I'd say, if this guy has really taken out so many dozens of people without being caught, why do you wanna fuck with him? He's obviously a cornpone ninja, and not to be trifled with. Watch what you say or you might be next!

To veer even further off-topic for a bit: remember something you had some months ago re: Dave Mustaine? I believe that might have been the first time I commented here. Anyway, it had something to do with his politics, and I don't know if either of us were sure where he stood. Well, I just looked at my stepson's dead-tree copy of Revolver magazine, and there's an article on him in there with some craptastic quotes you'll enjoy.

On the U.N. -- "I got saved a few years ago (I thought it was way back around the time of Rust in Peace? I guess that one didn't take.), and I believe what the Bible says; that the U.N.'s gonna fall. In order for the predictions in the Book of Revelations to take place, it's gotta fall...I'm hoping that someone's gonna pull the chain, and that's where the butthole of the United States is, and it just disappears!"

On Iraq -- "We needed to drop a really big bomb on that country about 16 years ago, and then we wouldn't be having this problem. I think Bush made a tragic mistake invading Iraq. I voted for the guy, so I'm absolutely ashamed of my vote, but it was better voting for him than John Kerry. The fact that we've been humiliated to the degree that we have, because of our president's ineptness..."

Wow, attacking Bush because he wasn't efficient or brutal enough in cleansing the wogs. Maybe when Dave gets done with his musical career, he can add some starpower to the stellar list of wingnut bloggers.

Heywood J. said...

Jesus, I hadn't read that about Mustaine. I still subscribe to Guitar World after all these years, and once in a while he pops up in their coverage, but his few political comments in there tend to be much more generalized, iirc.

I know he'd gone back and forth for years on the heroin trip, and he's a terminal prick to begin with, so this sort of rehab revelation doesn't surprise me at all. After he fucked up his hand a few years ago and had to retrain himself and take lessons to play, he made sure to shitcan the old band, and even trashed Junior (longtime bassist Dave Ellefson), who'd stuck with the fucking guy through a million personnel conflicts and substance abuse issues.

Mustaine's a very smart guy, very driven, and an outstanding musician, I'll give him that. I liked Metallica okay for the first four albums, but always found myself talking up Megadeth much more. They were angrier, punkier, more concise, and were even slightly better musicians. Their only weaknesses were that their early albums were way too short, and some of their covers were a waste of everyone's time.

But Mustaine is and always has been a complete fucking tool as a person, the author of his own karma all these years. It figures that now he'd be part of one of the ultimate jerkoff claques, the dispensationalists.

I think that, regardless of whoever initiates the troop drawdown and ultimate pull-out, the domestic vacuum will be quickly filled with a wave of ugly "exterminate the brutes" sentiments. Already it has been happening, of course, but in the wake of defeat, there will be a deluge of such self-serving, disgusting nonsense. Each of them should be forced to help grieving mothers pick body parts of their children from blood-saturated makeshift morgues. They are barely worth the contempt they so richly deserve.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, I'm dreading the day when the wingers don't even bother trying to hide their true feelings on the matter. Hell, I still hear people say the same thing about Vietnam, that we may have dropped more combined tonnage of bombs on them than were dropped during all of WW2, but we didn't drop the right one, nudge nudge wink wink. And for what? The domino theory was horseshit, and twenty years later relations had even mended. But it's just like a bratty kid who's made up his mind to squash a bug that keeps getting away - he's gonna do it just to prove he can. They had the nerve to fight back, and we're gonna show them, goddammit.

Speaking of Metallica, I remember Hetfield taking pretty much the same attitude back around '91 - I recall his deep thoughts on the matter being, "I think us and Russia should just squash [the Middle East] and split the oil," and then something about how at first, he was freaked out about the start of Gulf War 1, but then thought, "As long as it's a blowout, cool. As long as our guys aren't getting killed, fuck it." I believe he's even found the Lord since then, but I can't swear to it, because I stopped purposely paying attention to them right around June '96 when the more-apt-then-they-probably-intended Load came out. Though I did have the misfortune of hearing part of St. Anger, and was amazed that no one could be bothered to tell Lars that perhaps his snare should sound more like a, well, snare drum and less like a coffee can. And one of these days, just for the sheer morbid horrific fascination of it, I guess I'll rent Some Kind of Monster. Wow, to think I used to idolize these guys as a teenager.

But for now, I'm just trying to cope with my man Peter Steele from Type O Negative coming out as a religious loon with a message for us all (the end of the world is nigh, repent). Thankfully, a new Clutch disc on the 27th should help all be right with the world again.

And with that, I guess I'm done diverting a thread about Pete Stark into a music thread!

Heywood J. said...

It's cool, I like diversions like this. It's fun to watch the conversation morph into something completely different.

I've heard the "we shoulda nuked Vietnam" canard before; it's despicable, and almost entirely the province of good christians who can't wait to tell you just what good christians they are, but never seem to get around to that "do unto others" part. I just ask them what the fuck they think they would do if someone invaded their home under false pretexts. Fuck them.

Hetfield is another guy, like Mustaine, who channeled his overly religious upbringing into teenage rebellion and alcohol. And now that they've cleaned up, they're still stupid, so they channel that stupidity back into their original anger issues -- that durned religion their parents beat them with as kids. Talk about your vicious cycle.

I hated Some Kind of Monster. When Dave Fucking Mustaine is the most sympathetic character in the movie, you know you've got a fucking handful. Hammett also acquits himself fairly well; I think at this point he's just content to let Lars and James yank each other's chains, and just cash the checks. Can't say as I blame him. Lars' dad is also a very cool, strange guy, very zen, not afraid to tell the band that some of their shit just flat sucks. But three hours of pure self-absorption, narcissism, and whining -- if I wanted that, I'd watch The View.

That snare sound was the first thing from the first time I heard the first track from St. Anger. Fucking horrible. I guess they were trying for "garagey" or something, but my first band recording on a Fostex 4-track in a garage didn't have that fucked-up sound. Atrocious, distracting, unnecessary. A grating abortion of an album, sadly.

Anyway, interesting back-and-forth on this one. Much better than the actual post.