April 7th, 2005

flavored with age

"I am and have always been a healer" (Melissa Etheridge)

I'm in a pretty swell mood this morning, since I got a lot of sleep, had a lovely conversation with my outstanding girlfriend ninafarina, finished up a bunch of freelance work, continued reading a fine novel, and heard my beloved White Sox mount a massive comeback win against the hated 'Toons. But that doesn't mean I won't complain about stuff!

For a while now, the Chicago Sun-Times has been running a dopey ongoing feature where famous and quasi-famous people discuss their relationship with God. Most of the interviewees come down pretty solidly on the side of Christianity, especially the politicians; a few of them, mostly entertainers, mix in a little eastern philosophy (yoga, Buddhism, etc.); and occasionally there's a token agnostic (Annie Lennox and Bill Maher -- who rails against organized religion while being happily prodded by the interviewer). It's all pretty dumb and uninformative, with lots of missed opportunities; for example, why didn't they ask Jack Ryan how forcing his wife to dance naked at titty bars fits into his strict Roman Catholic faith?

But the best interview comes from overrated Cubs manager Dusty Baker, a devout Baptist (except for the odd voodoo session or kahuna worship) who never seems to wonder why God stuck him with the hapless bunch of losers he works with. Here's the real money quote, from when he's discussing crazy nut Carlos Zambrano's tendency to speak in tongues on the field:

"Any man who believes in God is a good man."

HA HA HA HA RIGHT! And no one who speaks German could possibly be an evil man! I mean, shit, just look at history, dude: there's never been an evil man who believes in God, ever!

Anyway. There's some other funny stuff in there, too, like:

"I'm not a turn-the-cheek type of Christian," Baker says. "I believe in a more gladiator/warrior type."

So, in other words, I'm not the kind of Christian that, say, Christ was. I'm more of the kind of Christian who does things opposite of Christ's teachings.

But it's a fun read, the whole series, especially if you, like me, are just dying to know about the rich inner spiritual life of Mancow Muller and 'life coach' Iyanla Vanzant.
flavored with age

What's the big deal? It was FUNNY

Those sacks of shit from the Minutemen Project have had their first, but certainly not last, brush with the authorities.

Now, I'm not stupid, and I'm well aware that there are serious issues surrounding immigration, particularly illegal immigration. But for a thousand thousand reasons, these assholes are not the answer. Even if they don't end up provoking or committing violence, they're absolutely doing more harm than good. They're untrained, unqualified volunteers, most of whom were recruited over the internet; they have no familiarity with the terrain; they keep accidentally tripping alarms that the actual Border Patrol have set up, causing the BP to have to waste a lot of time responding to false alerts; they don't know what they're doing and traipse all over the desert ruining trails and markers, making it impossible for the Border Patrol to track the actual illegal immigrants; and I'd bet every dollar in my pocket that their membership is crammed full of right-wing ideologues and racists. They're nothing more than a vigilante mob waiting to happen, and it's only because of the political climate we're in that they don't just get arrested en masse or shipped home. In short, they're not helping.

They interviewed the founder of the Minutemen Project last week -- he's a retired insurance executive who is, shockingly, a well-off conservative Republican. He spoke in the most cynical way possible about how using the patriotic imagery and the 'Minutemen' symbolism has really "paid off" for him, and he noted how he started the group over not only the economic issues of immigration, but because the flood of illegal immigrants is "threatening our culture". I dunno about you, but when I hear someone talk about how immigrants are threatening our culture, I look around for the big, huge iceberg of racism that is surely floating right under the surface somewhere. Worst of all, he talked about how his commitment to non-violence and publicity was inspired by Martin Luther King. Yes, that's right: he said that his ongoing project to use vigilante mobs of white people to harrass, arrest and detain impoverished minorities was inspired by Martin Luther King.

Fuck these guys.