Saturday, March 31, 2007

A new way to grok Jesus

My Sweet Lord, by Cosimo CavallaroA sculpture of the crucified Christ made of chocolate and on display during the Easter season? Now there's an image loaded with ironic symbolism. I wonder, of all the people who loudly protested the display of the sculpture, how many of them have received or placed chocolate crosses in Easter baskets at one time or another? Probably a majority.

I remember chocolate crosses in my Easter baskets when I was a kid. My parents didn't like the secular aspects of Easter and chose crosses instead of bunnies to remind me of the real meaning of Easter.

So why all the protests? How does a chocolate Christ demean Easter more than a chocolate cross does? It's because the Christ sculpture is anatomically correct? So, if the sculpture had included the traditional loin cloth, there would've been no protests? Pope-on-a-ropeBut public sculptures have been anatomically correct for some time now. It's the medium? If Cavarallo's sculpture had been cast in bronze, there would be no protests? Is it the color? If it had been made of white chocolate, would that be more acceptable to the protestors? Is it the sheer size of the piece of chocolate? I'm sure chocolate Jesuses on the cross no more than several inches in length are currently available somewhere in the world, but we haven't heard any protests about them.

I don't know. I think the protestors are doing exactly what a very clever, shrewd sculptor intended. His name recognition has just skyrocketed around the world.

I'd like to see a companion sculpture of Christ in chocolate with almonds. Or companion sculptures could be available in plain and peanut.

A giant Pope-on-a-rope on public display would probably cause an equal amount of protesting by Catholics. Maybe that will be Cavallaro's next project. Or has it been done?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

An atheist and a blonde walk into a bar...

Dan Newman, a Democratic political strategist, recently said "Anti-atheism remains the last remaining prejudice that a majority of Americans don't mind fessing up to." For most Americans, the atheist/agnostic is in the same category as the dumb blonde. Nobody gets riled when they hear a demeaning joke about a dumb blonde like they would if the same demeaning joke were told about a Jew or an African-American or a handicapped person or a gay person. The same is true if an atheist is the butt of the joke. Who cares? Atheists are just grizzled, muttering, God-hating curmudgeons nobody listens to. We need to tell demeaning jokes about somebody, so telling them about dumb blondes and atheists is still politically correct.

Rep. Pete StarkIt's significant that Congressman Pete Stark's recent acknowledgement of his agnosticism made headlines. Should something like that have been news at all? Newman said that a confession of non-belief is "political suicide." It remains to be seen if Stark will survive the suicide attempt.

What's even more significant is that, while Stark is the highest-ranking elected official who has acknowledged his agnosticism, Karl Rove is actually the highest-ranking official, elected or appointed, who has acknowledged his agnosticism. And that acknowledgement has not made headlines.

On the Amazon detail page for The Architect: Karl Rove and the Dream of Absolute Power, Vanessa Bush, in her review for Booklist, writes "Himself an agnostic, Rove has masterminded a strategy that has helped to broaden the Republican base beyond its pro-business, anti-government heritage to appeal to devout evangelicals. In a calculated effort to weaken the Democratic base, Rove has engineered plans to use the anti-abortion stance to attract Catholics, the anti-gay stance to attract black churchgoers, and the pro-Israel stance to attract Jews."

Oww. Information like that hurts my brain. Why did I have to learn that Rove is an agnostic? I thought he was probably an Episcopalean or a Catholic. But even more mystifying is the fact that, according to Larisa Alexandrovna's review of the same book on TheRawStory, Rove's adoptive father, Louis Rove, became openly gay when Rove was a young adult, and Rove loves and admires him and speaks of Louis' unselfish love during Rove's childhood. Alexandrovna continues "One might think that such a sensitive family situation might have kept Rove from using it as a political ace-in-the-hole. Instead, Rove made sexual orientation—specifically, gay marriage—the centerpiece of a presidential campaign aimed at getting out conservative voters in states like Ohio." Oww oww owww! Stop! Stop!

There's a word for the paradoxical divisions in the brain that Rove exhibits: schizophrenia. In looking over the explanation of schizophrenia (Greek for "divided mind") in the medical encyclopedia on the website of the National Institutes of Health, I see that about the only listed symptom that applies (as far as I know) is "delusional thoughts of persecution or of a grandiose nature." That certainly applies to Rove. As Bush writes in her Booklist review: "The authors maintain that these tactics are all part of a scheme to maintain Republican dominance of all aspects of American government for the next 30 years."

Could we have Rove undergo psychological testing? Aren't you curious to know how mentally healthy an extremely influential Deputy Chief of Staff is? Inquiring minds want to know.

There's no question of his intelligence. The authors of The Architect say Rove is "a man of almost startling intelligence." Nobody in his right mind would think that Rove develops political strategies that are in extreme contradiction to his personally held beliefs because he's too dumb to know any better. Naw, he ain't dumb. But it's true that high intelligence is often accompanied by mental illness of some type. A mild, subdiagnostic case of schizophrenia might explain how Rove can focus so exclusively on winning in the political game, to the exclusion of considering how winning affects him personally. If Rove's objective—the ideal, ultimate neoconservative government successfully taking over all three branches of government and nullifying all liberal influence—were to be achieved, Rove himself—the agnostic—and his father—the openly gay man—would be at significant risk.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Can great generals apologize and still be great?

Gen. Peter Pace
My email to the Dept. of Defense:

Once again we need to remind people that no one chooses to be gay or lesbian. There is no advantage of any kind to being homosexual, and no gay man ever consciously chose to "forsake the natural use of the woman." Homosexuality occurs naturally and runs in families. So labeling as immoral the "acts" "committed" by homosexuals makes as much sense as labeling as immoral the "acts" "committed" by left-handers, those with brown eyes, or the French. A person consciously chooses to have brown eyes? Of course not. People must come to understand that being gay or lesbian arises from the same source as other physical and psychological traits.

I know that Gen. Pace means well in condemning homosexual acts. He simply wants to be a good person, a good follower of Christ and the Church. But the tens of thousands of gay men and women serving in the military also want to be good people, and Gen. Pace's comments demean them and negate their service to the country, service that is as courageous and honorable as that of non-homosexual members of the military.

Gen. Pace needs to apologize publicly for his comments regarding homosexuals. His comments were extremely inappropriate. An apology is required.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

A bundle of sticks by any other name would burn as brightly

My email to CNN:
Did I miss this story on CNN? Or has there really been no mention of Ann Coulter suggesting that John Edwards is gay? Only she didn't use the word "gay." Surely this story has been included in a broadcast on CNN and I've just missed it. Surely. The story has been available at UPI since 11:17 pm on March 2, but when I did a search on a few minutes ago for "coulter," the most recent of the search results was a story from December. And since the search on is powered by Yahoo, and a search for "coulter faggot" on Yahoo produces numerous results, one can't claim that the search engine just hasn't found the story yet. Surely I'm missing something.