Little more than a gaggle of hacks and geeks.

Archive for the ‘Off-the-Cuff’ Category

No Peace in the Pantheon

leave a comment »

The sign reads “Beware of Religious Fundamentalists.” I first saw this warning sign on my walk from there to nowhere a few years back. It seemed then that most people fearing the fundamentalists were pot-smoking libertarians living in the free-trade district; that once-prestigious part of downtown that gave way to the sprawling fever once Americans exchanged their nationalist coffee for a free trade brew. But now these front door warning labels have become quite the trend. Books, billboards, and bumper stickers! I think I even saw a young lady with something like “Fundamentalists are Fascists” tattooed on her ankle… or was it her big toe? I am not sure anymore. What I am sure of, though, is that this new “peace in the pantheon” craze has spread like pinkeye in a culture hell-bent on giving everyone eye-to-eye butterfly kisses.

I needed to get to the bottom of this. Truth be told, I was freaking out! Most everyone in town knew I worked with Local 10:34, a Roman Catholic union named after the now-famous sword-text in St. Matthew’s gospel. If fundamentalists were scary, then we were every child’s nightmare!

We said some pretty crazy stuff, I guess. We were pretty bold, saying things like “outside the Church there is no salvation” and that the modern ecumenical movement is tantamount to institutionalized religious whoredom. Many fundies had backpedaled over the years, but not us. Benedict XVI apologized to his “Muslim brothers and sisters” after quoting Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaiologos during his now-famous Regensburg lecture. Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell both apologized for connecting the obvious dots between national immorality and national disaster. Billy Graham and Mel Gibson wept before the bright lights after being busted bad-mouthing Jewry and its Lobby. These fellas were diminished to bootlicker status. We weren’t like them. We said what we meant, sure. But we went further and meant what we said. The audacity of conviction!

But yesterday’s boon is today’s bust, or so it appears. And if Dr. “Scary” Gary North was in hot water, then members of Local 10:34 were in hellfire!

A few days later I found myself talking to someone who appeared to be part of the opposition. I don’t recall what it was that gave her away. Was it the fact that she had “COEXIST” detailed across the hood of her car? Maybe it was her “I Luv thePrayer Summit of Assisi” T-shirt. No, it was probably the “Got Questions? Ask me!” button. I guess it really doesn’t matter. What did matter was that I spoke to someone in “the know” about this.

“These fascists are so intolerant,” she said. “They are so full of hatred.”
“Who are they?” I asked.

“Them!” she shouted. “All the fundamentalists. Not just Muslims.”

Not just the Muslims? What??? This terrifying group of foaming-at-the-mouth “Islamofascists” who tear their beards out every time someone mentioned voting machines in their presence?

The entire conversation was quite confusing. It all appeared to be so hypocritical. We needed to hate hatred. We had to be intolerant of all intolerance. Freedom of religion for everyone but not for everyone. Freedom of speech protects blasphemy and porn, but “fundie talk” must be forbidden. Confusing to say the least.

But the Tolerance Tyrants are a pretty complex herd.

The more radical libertines advocated playing arm-chair eisegesis, finding in every religion and sacred text some super-secret hidden proof of hyper-inclusivism. Reading between the lines would result in discrediting the plain-as-day exegesis of yesteryear. These folks have mastered the arts of reading between the lines and the invisible writing on walls.

The “Agree with us or die” handbook from the First Church of Americanism is quite helpful for those exclusivists trying to understand the ecclesiastical structure for this unpleasant tribe of New Worlders. A woman at the gas station up the road from my home gave it to me along with a pack of American Gold cigarettes and handful of peanut gallery cashews. It appears that America’s founding fathers are high priests who had magical insight into the way things ought to be. Thomas Jefferson, who penned “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth,” a gospel gutted of supernaturalism, is the chief guru. Jefferson is accompanied by George Washington, the Grand Master of the Freemason’s Alexandria Lodge 22, whose own pastor at Christ’s Church questioned the legitimacy of his confession after years of Washington’s refusal to take part in communion services. The works of Mr. “The bloody Christian faith” Thomas Paine are prominent, with Common Sense and Rights of Man being treated like Chick tracts. Apologists for this “second Israel” see in the Bill of Rights what Paul VI saw in the United Nations: the last hope for mankind and for world peace. It’s even ready-made with its own Magisterium, the Supreme Court of the United States. The devil couldn’t have penned a better catechism!

A few hours ago, right before penning this, I noticed a number of city folk parking in front of the house. I wasn’t exactly sure what it was all about, so I went to the door. Bad idea! Turns out that one of their more vocal apologists, a certain Jay Batman, wrote a piece entitled “The Problem of Violent Fundamentalism: Religious Freedom and Responsibilities Thereof.” A harmless little blog, really… or at least it was until it got into the hands of radical inclusivists. Now they are chanting outside my home! Some even have signs reading, “Peer pressure him into submission!” They went so far as to hire a negotiator. “Mr. Bannister,” he said, “fundamentalists can’t hug their children with nuclear arms.” I tried convincing him that I wasn’t down with nukes and that I’m not a fan of the war hawks, but there was no convincing him. Mass hysteria set in strong, and it couldn’t even wait until I was done with my evening walk.

I’m not sure how all of this will turn out. There is no saying, really. We are dealing with a strange breed; the type of person that will demand you hug your neighbor while aiming a gun at your head. There seems to be no exits, so I’m stuck having to fight my way out of this nonsense. I’ll leave you, then, with my favorite line from my favorite propaganda film, Flight 93: “Let’s roll…”


Written by Paleocrat

May 6, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Off-the-Cuff: NRA Propaganda

leave a comment »

The 19th hour of the day is always one to watch out for, being as full of fun as it is of fanatics. It also happens to be near the end of the workday for telemarketers… if there is such a thing. I’m not at all sure how much has changed since my time in telemarketing slave campss, but the idea of a traditional workday was as mythical as an archaeopteryx. Still, for those few wretched souls confined to the chairs of telemarketing, advocating causes that require them to stick to script lest they fall off-track and speak sensibly, traditional workdays are quite unheard of.

I was getting ready for something relatively important when the call came in. Was it drying my hair? No, I never dry my hair. I am rather confident it revolved around what has become a Christmas break of checking out the back of my eyelids for 30 minutes or so to make sure they are functioning at full capacity. At any rate, the jingling and jangling of the phone at that top of that 19th hour was nerve racking on many levels… and lo and behold! It was a telemarketer! What are the odds, right?

The poor soul on the other end of the line had no clue what he had just gotten into. Not only had he unknowingly got on my last available nerve, but he was unaware of what would soon become the apparent fact that he had, by no real fault of his own, stumbled upon a man who has dedicated his life to stomping out all things wretched and vile… and that telemarketing was somewhere between herpes and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, placing him in bad company.

Luckily, my household has the luxury of Caller ID. This may frustrate the run-of-the-mill pranksters, but not the more creative rabble rousers. No, we see the advent of this technology as a luxury; we see it as an opportunity to turn the tables on those who would dare advertise and plead relentlessly for a chunk of our already dwindling earnings.

“Hello, sir, I am calling on behalf of the National Rifle Association…”

Uh-oh, this called for my old man voice. Yeah, the voice of one who sounds as close to 110 years of age as he does to dementia. I mastered it while in high school, and it has served me well over the last 12 years since.

I knew that the next minute or so would be an apocalyptic message from Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of the NRA, about Obama and “liberal thugs” and “gun-hating Dems” who plan to break into homes on Christmas Eve to confiscate all our weapons… even down to little Ralphie’s Red Rider BB Gun! The audacity! The unconstitutionality! 

Once the man gets back on the phone, I go on a tangent about how “I am scared as hell up to my ear drums” and we need to begin work on foxholes immediately. The poor sap tries to keep his composure (as well as to his script), but my talk of shotguns and coon hounds was too much for this young call-boy to handle.

Poor guy tried to swindle me for $100… until I began jabbering on into Looney Land.

“What’s your plan, boy?… A five-year plan? That whipper snapper Bay-Rock will be out of the White House in five years!… Didn’t you and that French Pierre guy talk about how this was at the top of Bay-Rock’s to-do list?… We need action now!… I’m glad you agree… So what are we doing this evening?… Yes, tonight!… Nothing tonight?… $100?… You just want my money?… You want my support? Good! For a second there I thought you only wanted money tonight… $100??… OK, I will support you. How do I get to your location?… To join the team… $100??… I got a better idea!  We’ll surround the White House!… Well, I don’t want one of them liberal bureaucrats you fellas were talking bout coming to my door trying to nab my gun… You keep wanting to get back to that five-year nonsense that costs me $100! I’m getting angry, boy… Well, I tell ya, me and my coon hound may take that $100 and surround the White House… Heck yeah! Better than giving it to some plan that will only begin to work after those bureaucrats take my guns! 

By this time, the telemarketer was trying his hardest to stay on script, and he appeared to be on some kind of laughter-inducing drug. It had also become quite evident that he had decided I was a failed cause. No money to squeeze out of the crazy, old man with a shotgun and a coon hound. So being the efficient worker ant he was, he made the decision that it was in his best interest not to waste any more time with me. He politely thanked me for my time, wished me and my coon hound the best, and hung up the phone.

After all was said and done, I was hit by the truly unexpected: an epiphany. At long-last I knew why I hated telemarketers, especially those advocating social change… because they, unlike a good gun, are all money and no action.