Category Archives: Uncategorized

American Religiosity and Wellbeing.

I was perusing the Gallup website the other day and wandered across a very interesting four part post about a survey they conducted which correlated levels of religiosity with levels of wellbeing. (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4) In summary, people across all faiths have consistently higher scores for wellbeing in all areas tested when they are “very religious” and consistently lower scores when they are “nonreligious”.

It’s a little bit more complicated than just that though, because one of the faith categories was “No Religion/Atheist/Agnostic”. I think that just by being included as a category we atheists have unknowingly thrown a wrench in the works for anyone who would say this is proof that religion raises wellbeing.

Overall wellbeing was determined under six categories:

  • Life Evaluation
  • Emotional Health
  • Physical Health
  • Healthy Behavior
  • Work Environment
  • Basic Access
The three categories of religiosity were defined as such:
  • Very religious — Religion is an important part of daily life and church/synagogue/mosque attendance occurs at least every week or almost every week. This group constitutes 43.7% of the adult population.
  • Moderately religious — All others who do not fall into the very religious or nonreligious groups but who gave valid responses on both religion questions. This group constitutes 26.6% of the adult population.
  • Nonreligious — Religion is not an important part of daily life and church/synagogue/mosque attendance occurs seldom or never. This group constitutes 29.7% of the adult population.
(More on their methodology here)
First of all, to the 30% of people who identify themselves under faith but already have nothing to do with it, let me just invite you on over to the dark side.  Critical thinking and reason and evidence are a great way to determine your world view and personal morality. And we have a lot less rules and a lot more fun. Give us a chance, we’ll show you a good time. It’s like the old saying goes: ain’t no party like a party without omnipresent thought police threatening you with eternal torture. But I digress.

As might be expected the atheists fall at the bottom of the religiosity list. What first confused me was why we appear on it at all. Clearly someone who identifies themselves as atheist would by definition be 100% nonreligious, right? Well I was forgetting, as I tend to do, that not everyone is exactly like me. In fact there are about 6.5 billion people out there and all of them are different from me.

There is certainly a subgroup of atheists, quite a few actually, who acknowledge their own lack of belief but continue to go to church for various reasons. Most notably would be that they are not out of the closet to their family, but I’m sure there are other reasons one might still attend religious services. They may just enjoy the people, or agnostics may try to glean the good bits they can from services, or maybe like me they just have a masochistic obsession with religion. But for whatever reason, there are very religious atheists who got polled, and they scored higher on overall wellbeing than nonreligious atheists. (ugh, my head hurts when I say that)

Now we’re seeming a little more legit as an option, but even though we come in third for overall wellbeing on this list, the nonbelievers who attend church services regularly clearly have a significant increase in wellbeing. That’s not the kind of wellbeing margin a rational mind would choose to ignore out of convenience. Of course I would love for nontheists to top every list, I’m sporting a chubby just thinking about it. But we aren’t, so now it’s our responsibility to figure out why and to fix it.

Now as far as I can see, the argument that belief in religion leads to better wellbeing (as far as this study is concerned) can be dismissed because the wellbeing benefit of religious attendance is shared by those who lack similar belief, or outright oppose faith altogether. So if the belief isn’t the key to wellbeing, then it must be a social aspect. There must be some part of human kind that fundamentally needs community and acceptance and a group to belong to. I think that’s the thing atheism is lacking right now. We need a stronger community.

So many of the atheists I have met, including myself, are headstrong individualists. We prefer to stand on the outside, to define morality and fashion and cultural norms on our own without anyone else’s input, thank you very much. But the very thing that makes an atheist strong when atheism doesn’t exist as a movement (the ability to be fulfilled leaving a group and standing alone) could be the worst thing for an atheist movement that is taking it’s first steps. I think we should be pushing for greater group involvement.

I’m not saying make atheist churches, that’s not at all something I would enjoy. Screw the format, it’s not an appealing one. But maybe we should recognize that religion has us beat in one major area, and then steal their success right out from underneath them by doing it better. Because I know you guys. I know what nonbelievers are like, what we’re good at, and we are fucking fun. I’ve never experienced any of the Lord’s faithful who could hold a candle to the kind of no-reservations, let it all hang out kind of atmosphere we heathens embrace all day every day. Look at the gay rights movement and what do you think of? Flamboyant style, outrageous public parades, scandalous club scenes. We could do all of that so damn well. Basically, in order to save the world from god, we’re going to have to party like hell, and we have to invite people to that party. If a social connection is something that religion does well, then we need to start connecting socially more often, and do it better when we do get together.

And now for some good news.

Overall we’re ranked number two baby! That’s for the overall wellbeing index score for each religious grouping. So clearly the Jesus bump (as I have affectionately nicknamed it) doesn’t really bring everything into factor, it merely reflects one aspect of overall wellbeing. I take extra pleasure in pointing out that protestants are losing to both mormons and muslims.

Second is quite good considering atheism as a movement is in it’s infancy, giving our counterparts in many cases a head start of several thousand years. In addition, I think we deserve a little pat on the back for holding our spot near the front of the pack despite the fact that we are persistently one of the most hated groups in America, which would almost certainly negatively affect our scores in emotional health and work environment, and arguably all our scores through less tangible prejudice.

Overall I would say this poll should give atheists a positive outlook on the present and our future, but also a new challenge in improving our own culture through self examination. Arguments, additional points, and tangents are encouraged in the comments. The internet is a forum, not a pulpit.

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The source of human morality: an email to my father.

Paul Wilson 23 December at 20:38
In your blog about the WBC protest you wrote;
“I personally don’t need a master to tell me what is right and wrong, and I think when people let go of their fear and look inside, they will realize that none of them need servility either. We can make the world better, but we aren’t going to get any help from an outside source, it’s up to us as human beings to fix it ourselves.”  Question: If you have no standard for your morality, then how do you define what is right and what is wrong?
What follows is my answer to my father, unedited. I had planned on looking into this further to form the best possible response to this question, but seeing as my blog is more a tool for me to articulate my thoughts in an orderly fashion, mostly for my own benefit, rather than an ultimate argument for my ideas, I think it is appropriate to address some of these issues as they present themselves. So here, only minutes after I sent the message, is my response at this time on the issue of human morality. All forms of support and criticism are welcomed and encouraged. Your scrutiny makes my view better when I accept it.

It’s interesting that you would ask me this particular question. It’s one that I’ve run into many times, especially lately. Actually I’m preparing to address it shortly as part of my next blog which is going to be a response to a catholic man with some rather extremist views on atheism. It was a question I had when I was first fully realizing my atheism, and I think it is a legitimate question, although it is somewhat insulting to atheists when you examine it.


The answers that I found when I looked into it are what pushed me to choose secular humanism as a moral platform for my life. You could say that in atheism (although certainly not with all atheists, because atheism is much like the left-wing in that it is more of a loose commonality of ideas held by widely different people, skepticism and the scientific method are the most widely accepted ideas comparable to your theology, and secular humanism is the most widely accepted idea comparable to your biblical morality.

In order to answer your question I first have to critique it. You ask how I define what is right and wrong if I have no standard for morality. This is what can be frustrating for atheists. The connection between religion and morality has been enforced, by the religious, for so long that they are culturally synonymous. But I believe that religion has very little positive impact on morality, and that morality is demonstrably a separate entity from religion. And the idea that people who don’t believe in a god are incapable of understanding morality is an understandable but annoying constant slap in the face for us heathens. When religion states that it is not only morally superior, but has a total monopoly on morality, I kind of roll my eyes and try not to be the arrogant atheist dick that constantly spouts off endless examples of immoral behavior being rewarded by or commanded by god in the bible. So it’s an easy question to answer, but it’s a difficult question to answer without coming off like a jerk, because in order to answer it I have to eventually point out why I believe that all religions are fundamentally unhealthy for not just human progress, but human wellbeing.

I think morality stems from two different things. First off it is a function of survival useful for most life and has been widely propagated among the species on earth through evolution. Second, it is one aspect of our higher cognitive function that gives us an advantage over less intelligent forms of life, and at the same time gives us a greater degree of responsibility for how we conduct ourselves given the ability to understand complicated and intangible concepts that affect the quality of life of our own species, as well as that of all other species on earth.

My first point is that morality is a survival tactic we received from evolution. We have the ability to empathize with other memberz of mankind, and their survival becomes a part of our survival. The most basic example of this in nature would be the tendency for almost all life to either sacrifice its own safety or its own food source for its offspring. Animals especially (as opposed to plants, fungus, or microscopic life) tend to be aggressively defensive of their young, putting themselves in much more dangerous situation than they would normally when a threat is imminent for their children. I think this is the root for our connection, and our behavior. At some deep subconscious level we instinctively understand that our survival is linked to every other member of our species. Humans are the most socially linked species on the planet, as far as I know, and so our social survival instinct would rationally be stronger than in other creatures. This survival link can be show even better when you examine other social or hive type creatures. Most species of cats and dogs work together in groups, and the group will work together for food and safety, and give up a portion of their own supplies to help feed other members of the group, say the sick and injured, or the young who can’t hunt for themselves. Hive creatures like ants or bees split the work up, so each member has its own purpose, but they all collectively reap the benefits. And so their own survival depends on the survival of their hive members, causing them to toil for the greater good and to sacrifice to protect the greater good.

And so for the most basic and fundamental aspects of morality, religion is totally unnecessary, since the ideas of not killing, stealing, or inflicting harm on members of one’s own social group, to the point of self-sacrifice for the well-being of others, are demonstrated by creatures far inferior to us. These attributes help us survive off of each other in a sort of symbiotic relationship, and are so simple and obvious to us that they don’t really need to be carved on stone tablets to be understood by all societies.

My second point was that we humans have a unique mental ability. We are by far the smartest creature in existence, at least as far as we know, and I would have to imagine that any other creature as smart as us would be capable of figuring out a way to communicate their intelligence. Anyway, that’s an irrelevant tangent, or at least a totally different debate about the possibility of higher beings. Our higher brain function allows us to grasp intangible concepts in a way that we don’t believe other life here can do. This is what gives us morally grey areas and allows us the ability to deal with them; the issues that can both harm and help life, such as how to define human rights, or how much speech should be allowed for whom, and what aspects of society should be mandated for the benefit of all, and which should be left to the individual.

This is where my idea (and I use the term “my” loosely, since most of the ideas I’m presenting here aren’t really my own, and the few that are have undoubtedly been argued better by someone else already) that religion is actually a hindrance to morality comes into play. If you assert that morality comes from your god and not from mankind and the laws that govern nature, then you will have a hard time excusing the teachings of the bible. And this is actually an issue that has bugged me from an early age, long, long before I rebelled and then eventually dismissed the idea of believing in a god. The bible has in it, especially in the old testament, but there are plenty of good examples of evil in the new as well, a plethora of commands to do things that we today consider extremely reprehensible. Abraham was made the father of all believers for his willingness to murder his own child when he heard a voice commanding him to. No normal Christian today would defend a parent who murdered their child and said God told them to do it. It’s right there in the ten commandments, thou shalt not murder. And yet Abraham inspired three completely different religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Not only did god reward Abraham for his willingness to murder his son, he also endorses and supports outright genocide and imperialistic warfare as a norm, in multiple situations. Believers in other faiths are routinely wiped off the face of the planet, and even for followers of gods teachings, fairly normal “wrongs” are responded to with outright bigotry and violence. For instance, a woman who was raped is commanded to either be stoned to death or to marry her rapist, as long as she was raped outside the city, if she were raped inside the city then she just has to die. The term sodomy even comes from the story of God wiping out an entire city of homosexuals, who he calls an abomination, a term poorly translated that breeds bigotry, but one supported by a story of merciless hatred. (I really don’t feel like looking up these verses, but I assure you they are in there, as I predict you will already know, and if you don’t think so I will gladly take the time to look up verses to prove my point)

And so I contend that most of what we consider to be moral, at least the moral parts I agree with, have stemmed from a secular viewpoint rather than a religious one. One common argument made by believers is that many aspects of moral improvement have been championed by religious people, and inspired by religious text. I do not argue that religious people have been instrumental in the positive changes we have made in society, especially in the last couple of hundred years, or that your bible may have inspired them to be better people. There are many passages in the bible that agree with secular humanism. Do unto others … Let him without sin cast the first stone … judgement is mine sayeth the lord; they all rehash the golden rule. Actually the first one is the golden rule now that I think about it, and I am not sure if that is in the bible or not. But it’s also the basis for all morality, which I already argued, and for example the first rule of Wiccan is, “Do what you will, so long as it harms no one.” My issue is that the rest of the bible isn’t so humanist. A famous example of morality being forwarded by a religious icon would be the civil rights movement and MLK Jr. Sure his faith was part of his passive campaign for equality, but the bible not only condones slavery, but sets out elaborate rules for how it should be done. Nowadays I doubt you can find many Christians who would admit slavery is a good idea, worthy of public support, but it’s still right there in your holy text. Likewise, few Christians would openly support a war with another religion without an excuse for it besides the opposing side being of a different faith. But again, plenty of examples of your god waging such jihads. And I don’t think I need to point out the obvious paradox of chauvinism versus female empowerment in your bible, since you and Mom have had, to my knowledge, some butting of heads with your church leaders in the past over what is and is not allowed for women by your bible.

So if we look at these things like civil rights, women’s equality, and the push for equal treatment of everyone, and you can point out examples of religious people, and the church in general, adjusting your morality to contradict your own divine scripture, then where have these ideas of right and wrong come from? I think that they are not natural to us. The simple forms of morality key to survival are natural to us, and this is what you have titled a conscience. But the grey areas of morality that we have worked out as a species are inarguably important, and the solutions to these problems, although sometimes accepted by the religious community, fly in the face of religious literature and teachings. So the question then becomes, where do we get and how do we define our system of morality. My answer, which is secular humanism, is that we should use our most successful techniques, those being skepticism, rational thought and reason, and the scientific method to constantly test our morality and determine where morality is working for our species and where it is hindering our progress. As we have seen with all areas of life with which we have applied the scientific process, I think morality will be best determined for our species when we put our greatest attribute in charge, that being our ability to think and use reason.

Unfortunately for your side of the argument, religion by its nature denies both reason and the scientific process. Any religion requires its believers to use faith in their lives, and faith by its very nature is the suspension of rational thought to accept an extraordinary claim without conclusive evidence, and often without using any logic at all. And when religion accepts faith, and claims that it’s scripture is the inspired word of god, it denies any application of the scientific method. Once you claim god said something, you aren’t allowed to challenge it until secular society comes along and forces you to adapt, and adaptation is the one evolutionary factor that is even stronger than our intelligence. By contrast, any theory or point of view on morality put forth by a secular humanist is open for rebuttal and debate by every other person on earth, and through this process of intellectual self inspection as a species, we can choose the strongest and most beneficial ideas for our future. I think any idea worth following should withstand scrutiny by the smartest minds available, and religion neither teaches this concept, nor demonstrates it, as evident by the extreme majority of scientists who are atheist.

One quote I hear a lot from the believers is that “atheists don’t believe in nothing, they believe in anything.” This is exactly why we are offended and annoyed. The entire premise that we are incapable of, or have never considered morality is ridiculous. Most atheists find the ideas of religion and morality almost all-encompassingly important, and have spent years or possibly all their life learning and thinking about it. Study after study shows that atheists are on average, more educated on matters of religion and philosophy than are the people who profess to believe in ancient scrolls. So it’s a valid question to ask where we nonbelievers get our morality, but in asking it you shine a light on the overwhelming cultural bias towards freethinkers and skeptics and atheists, and at the same time highlight your own ignorance of alternative beliefs while requiring us to have a deep knowledge of your beliefs. I’m not offended by you asking me this Dad. It was one of the first questions I went after when I realized there was no god, and so I can empathize with never having considered any other option. In fact I am glad that I get to answer it for you instead of some other atheist who may be less friendly with their world views. I hope this gives you some food for thought as far as moral alternatives, and if you have any questions for me, and I hope you do, hit me up. Remember, no idea worth following should be above scrutiny, even mine and especially mine.

Later gator,
Josh.


Protesting the Westboro Baptist Church

Over the last year I’ve seen a big shift in my world view towards a more aggressive atheism and a much more liberal political view. As this witches brew of new ideals began to come into more focused views and opinions, I’ve been looking for a way to get more involved and try to make a difference in the world. One such opportunity presented itself last week when the conservative talk radio station my boss listens to announced that the Westboro Baptist church, famous for picketing funerals with their anti-gay hate speech, would be picketing the funeral of Elizabeth Edwards.

Elizabeth Edwards is the ex-wife of my former senator John Edwards, who ran as vice presidential hopeful alongside John Kerry when they (and pretty much everyone on the planet) lost out to G. Dubyah and Cheney. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a big John Edwards fan, but Elizabeth seems like a strange target for such animosity. Her first child died in a car accident at the age of sixteen. Her husband cheated on her, had a baby with his mistress, got caught covering it up, and embarrassed her in front of the nation. So she ditched him. And let’s not forget that she got breast cancer, and after a six year illness kicked the bucket at age 61.

So the never pleasant Westboro clan who, like all credible moral sources live on a compound in Kansas, announced they would picket her funeral. You can try to read their press release here, although I couldn’t make much sense of it. After spewing incoherent psychobabble for a few minutes, they mention she and her husband “decided they would show God who is boss, [after he killed their first son for reasons unclear] and meddled in matters of the womb, resulting in two more children”. Yeah, what a bitch. She wanted more kids after god killed her first one.

I'd rather play tummy sticks too.

God hates androgynous fags, unlike the hotties of WBC!

A few lines farther down the page Westboro somehow combines the words ‘smashmouthed’ and ‘Godsmacks’ in a sentence that doesn’t say, “Godsmack is much, much, much better than Smashmouth unless you are a thirteen year old girl, and even then fuck you and Smashmouth.”

Some of their other outrage comes from allegations that she was less than praise filled when talking about God stating that “God could not … protect my boy”, that she wasn’t asking god to save her from cancer, and possibly the most shocking, that god was “not the God I wanted”. I’m not sure exactly what the WBC expected after decades of intense personal loss. I think the god of the bible is a total asshole and I’ve never lost anyone, or had a wife who cheated on me, or gotten cancer. I don’t need that kind of reason to be pissed, because religion claims your god stuck my ass on a planet filled with jerk offs like the WBC, and that alone deserves a swift kick in the nuts. The fact of the matter is that after her death she relied on her church greatly for support and inspiration, and despite her religion was able to work through her cancer to support gay rights and oppose war.

Don't forget I used to be super hot.

So I got a few of my Friends to go with me, and I prepared for the festivities the night before. I spent a half an hour or so coming up with slogans for our signs, and let Tim and Heather pick which ones they would like to have. In the process I learned a few things about protesting. First of all, check the weather, because it would have been really nice to know in advance that it was going to be 37 degrees and rainy before I left the house with no gloves or head gear or umbrella. Second, if you make signs, use something sturdier than poster board. Ours might have held up better if it had just been windy, but with the rain added they were floppy piles of crap by the time we shivered our timbers back to the car.

As it turns out we were a few blocks down from the funeral, and there were only five WBC members there to protest, two of which were children. It was a bit of a let down, I certainly didn’t feel properly outraged. They held signs proclaiming “You will eat your babies”, and “Thank God for breast cancer”. Across the street we had about three hundred protesters, from all walks of life. In our group we had two Christian conservatives and a liberal atheist, and all around us you could see the diversity reflected as people of all colors and creeds came to give the extremists the middle finger. Every demograph seemed to be represented, from the young to the old, educated or otherwise, we all had a common moral bond, that the folks across the street were despicable, and that for a few hours at least, we could all stand together united under one purpose.

On the street itself a steady stream of protesters in cars circled the block, with the bikers flicking off the whackos while revving their Harleys, the rednecks blaring country music and waving american flags and POW/MIA flags, and the college kids dancing to macho man and house music, with hot lesbian coeds riding out of the sunroof and making out. Meanwhile in the crowd people were passing out pink ribbons to acknowledge breast cancer victims, and holding their own signs. Apparently someone hit a WBC member with a water balloon, which must have been miserable because of the cold, but I missed it.

For the most part the signs were lame. Our people had slogans ranging in boring-ness from “grace” to “hero”. I’m sorry, but this is a protest, not a Lifetime midday movie for housewives brimming with weepy Hallmark moments. But it seemed like most of the sappy stuff was at the other end of the crowd, directly across from the WBC pen. To give you a feel for our end of the barricade, I hadn’t been there for more than thirty seconds before a gothic kid with fangs (they looked really good, possibly surgically implanted) asked me if he could photograph me and my sign. One side of my sign read, “FSM (picture of flying spaghetti monster) FLIED FOR YOUR SINS” and the opposite side read, “THOU SHALT NOT BE AN A**HOLE”.

I focused my efforts on comedy because I think parody works best for me. I want to use humor to diffuse the anger in a tense situation, and simultaneously point out how ridiculous it is to believe in things like the Bible. I was surprised though, at how many people came out of the wood work to ask for pictures of our signs, and especially my spaghetti monster sign. Living in the Bible belt, and the deep south, and working as I do with almost entirely Christian conservatives, it seems most of the time like there is nobody around me who feels the same way. So it was nice I guess, to see so many of my people, the ones with died hair, facial piercings, tattoos, and the like. I don’t think that’s superficial, I think it’s just natural to want to be around people similar to yourself, and to feel more comfortable around people who look and talk like you do. And it was extra reaffirming to have so many approach me and show support.

I did have a few negative responses to my atheist views, but none were rude or offensive. In fact the one person who actually got mad wasn’t even mad at me directly, he was mad about the sign I made for Tim that read, “Zeus hates Baptists! Burn in Hades nonbelievers!” Because they had moved the protest a few blocks away from the funeral, we just so happened to be directly in front of another church. One of their members came over, and with his teeth practically clenched with anger said to Tim, “I get what you’re trying to do here, I really do. But that line of people across the street (there was a line of people going into the church, who weren’t part of any protest, but we didn’t know who they were or what they were up to) is full of poor families here to get their children presents for Christmas. There are 300 Baptists in that building right now giving away toys to poor kids and you are out here doing the same thing [the WBC] is doing.”

Wow, that was unexpected and awkward. Except not really at all once I had thought about it. The problems I had with the words that had come out of his mouth started taking shape and lining up to explode out of my mouth, but before I could get in a single word Tim, much to my surprise, had already told the man he couldn’t help him, and he had a right to have his sign, and had sent him back to his church. While my friend is an extremist conservative, he’s also a really nice guy to almost everyone, so I was surprised he had stood up for his right to make a joke. Except then I got to thinking about it, and I got mad at the First Baptist Church member who had addressed us. There were 300 Baptists in that building, and five outside giving them a bad name, and all they had to do was get up and walk outside to join us in protest. I’m sure they didn’t need 300 people to hand out toys. Not only that but this guy quite clearly did not “get” what we were trying to do. In order to get it he would have needed a sense of humor, which he clearly did not possess.

When all was said and done the WBC freak show packed up and everyone cheered, and then hurried back to their vehicles because we were all soaking wet and freezing from standing in the wind and rain for hours. I know that by going to protest these extremists, we only get them the media attention they want in the first place. But by the same token, if nobody stands up and says something is wrong, people probably won’t end up dealing with it. I would hope that by using parody to point out how ridiculous bigotry against the evil “fags” inherently is, maybe some of the more moderate religious people will realize that they are doing the same thing in a watered down way.

The fact is that the WBC doesn’t make this stuff up, their hate really is printed in the Bible, mixed in with the bits about loving thy neighbor, and reserving judgement for their lord. The more I am exposed to the LGBT community, the more ashamed I am that we as a society allow an entire group of people, who are amazing, and creative, and fun, and add vibrancy and spice to our species, to be systematically denied civil rights, and be bullied, discriminated against, and treated as hated, second class citizens by the very people who claim they have the monopoly on morality. I would hope that at least some of the people on the fence will see things like this, and lean a little bit farther towards secular humanist values. In my personal opinion, we will never see an end to this sort of religious hate no matter how hard the church tries to adapt to an increasingly educated world.

Unfortunately for the religious, the values of racial hatred, political and social imperialism, and a divinely commanded moral superiority are built into the holy books of  the Abramahic religions. As long as it’s still printed in those perfect, infallible fairy tales, people will still believe it’s right. The only way I see to cut out the root of this problem is to grow as a species past the need for ancient scrolls to tell us what to do. I personally don’t need a master to tell me what is right and wrong, and I think when people let go of their fear and look inside, they will realize that none of them need servility either. We can make the world better, but we aren’t going to get any help from an outside source, it’s up to us as human beings to fix it ourselves.

America In Peril: College Students Dangerously Funny

In what can only be described as the most offensive display of racism since everyone realized Kramer wasn’t actually funny, some students from the University of California at San Diego have whipped their collective pee-organs out and defiled the sanctity of black history month. According to a report by news giant MomLogic.com, students threw a, “ghetto-themed party called the Compton Cookout” where, “guys were encouraged to wear chains and high top tennis shoes and girls were encouraged to be ghetto-chicks with gold teeth and wear cheap clothes”. Even more shockingly, reports would indicate that most, if not all of these students were not black people.

The party was unsanctioned by the school, and was held off campus, but may have been attended by members of at least three fraternities. I find it utterly disturbing that members of the respected social class consisting of college fraternity members could behave in such a rude or thoughtless manner, as all of my previous experiences with frat boys have reflected the utmost moral caliber.

The Vice Chancellor is heading up an investigation into the serious misconduct carried out within the law and outside of her jurisdiction with a fervor I can only describe as inspiring. The V.C. was quoted as saying, “Our obvious initial concern was abated when we discovered that the party consisted of white students merely pretending to be poor black people. However, after numerous complaints from the you-know-whos and a bunch of mommies, we’ve officially changed our stance to that of disbelief and repulsion. We fully understand that [Black History Month] is an institution of the utmost importance and respect, and not at all an empty gesture meant to shut people up.”

I for one agree with the Vice Chancellor, it is so nice to get a break from those obnoxious disaster relief and ASCPA commercials for a month, and focus on these historically heroic figures that everyone certainly wasn’t already familiar with by the fifth grade. What an amazing idea, to dedicate a month to occasional television blurbs. I enjoy it almost as much as when I have to go to work on Martin Luther King Jr. day every year.

In fact I am so convinced this is a great idea I think we should step up as a country and take it a step farther. I’ve compiled a few more racist offenders who need to be investigated and tried, or at the least publicly humiliated for their racially charged stereotype crimes.

Lil John, I mean Jon

What a dickhead. This racist mother fucker is brimming so full of stereotypes he’s one pointy white hat away from completing his track suit of hate. He misspells his name, his grammar is horrible, he’s toting more gold accessories than Mr. T’s jeweler, and what the fuck is that in his mouth? Why would he mock black people like this? Frankly, I’m offended.

Are you kidding me? What kind of clansmen crapfest is this? That white guy who looks like Ving Rhames is clearly saying all black people carry guns. And why is there a share cropper at the bottom left? Just because watermelons are delicious and everyone loves eating them doesn’t mean it’s ok to say black people love eating watermelons. Go burn a cross you douchebags. As if Dolemite would appear in a movie making fun of his own peoples stereotypes, get real.

Listen actual black people from Compton, and one white guy with a 40 oz.: just because you are successful, black people who actually are from Compton doesn’t mean you get to wear gold chains, and high tops, or get gold teeth, or wear cheap clothing. That’s racist. Most especially during a month that celebrates outstanding black people who have contributed to black culture and history. Outstanding people like Ice Cube, and Easy E. Or people like Dr. Dre and the many successful black people he’s discovered during his reign as media mogul, such as Snoop Doggy Dog, or Eminem. If you keep that kind of behavior up, not only will you get kicked out of the college you never attend, but you’ll never amount to anything like the world famous entertainers you are today.

America, today is the day we need to come together and stand united. Some people may say that the only reason parties like this are considered offensive, is because the offendees have little to no sense of humor or reality. This is simply not the case. If we can’t force everyone in our country to stop propagating racial stereotypes then you know what? We’re all racist, and I for one want to live in a colorblind society, where everything is black and white. Good night and good luck.

More Like the Blowlympics

So my woman decided to write a post about how hating the Olympics doesn’t mean you aren’t patriotic, and since I haven’t felt very inspired to write anything for a few years or so, I figured I’d like to get in on that. Despite the fact that Torontonians apparently feel not supporting the Olympics is unpatriotic, I don’t know anyone around here who likes them. True, most of my friends are alcoholics, criminals, and white trash, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a legitimate representation of everyone in America. Let’s quickly review the basics shall we?

1) The Olympics are boring. Watching them is like watching reruns of CSPAN. I would rather do chores around the house wearing a suit of fiberglass insulation than watch the Olympics. I would rather listen to Rosanne and Fran Drescher argue about yesterday’s episode of the View than watch the Olympics.

2) Almost all Olympic sports, challenging as they may be, are not spectator sports. Everyone knows figure skating sucks. Ski jumping may be scary, but if you see one jump you’ve pretty much got the idea. If you’re a dick like me and you enjoy people wrecking badly, it almost never happens. (Too soon for a luger pun?) Even the relatively exciting sports of BMX or Karate are still way lamer than watching a non-Olympic version like the X-Games or the UFC.

3) What the hell is bandy? I realize I live in a warm climate and ice sports aren’t popular, but seriously? The same thing goes for basque pelota, korfball, and boules. I may be an ignorant American, but I would argue that sports shouldn’t even be considered for a world tournament unless they are popular in more than two countries. What’s next, life saving? Oh wait, that’s an Olympic sport too. Being a lifeguard is NOT a sport, I don’t care how many boobs were on Bay Watch.

So now that I have irrefutably proven that the Olympics generally blow, let’s move on to how that applies to me being patriotic. Let me first start by explaining that I’m not patriotic in the traditional sense of actually being loyal to my country. Here are just a few things I hate about America: everyone who runs it, guidos, Fox News, people who insist America is the best country in the world without knowing anything about the world, the fact that Top Gear is filmed somewhere else, and public service announcements. (Seriously, shut up Hollywood)

However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t a ton of great things that have come out of America that I enjoy taking credit for when talking to foreigners. So if you think I’m unpatriotic, well fuck you. Here’s a list of amazing shit I or someone related to me probably were responsible for.

Look at this guy!

Grizzly Adams: He tamed fucking bears. I can only assume he settled for grizzly bears in the absence of wild dragons. Also he owned one of the coolest coat-beard combos in the history of mankind.

Rock and Roll: While the debate over who technically invented rock and roll is one that will never be agreed upon, (see Beatles vs Elvis if you’re an idiot) the fact remains that America has contributed a lot to Rock and Roll over the years. And while lots of my favorite bands are not home grown, a whole lot of them are. Skynyrd, Aerosmith, Van Halen, Metallica, Motley Crue, Guns N’ Roses, Disturbed, Green Day, Sublime, 311, Rage Against the Machine; the list goes on and on but I’m tired of copying crap from Wikipedia. The point is that without downplaying the contribution of the rest of the world, we’ve done some face melting rocking over the years.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship: I don’t give a flying crap where martial arts come from, the UFC is a great American institution. I was always bored with sports (like the Olympics) and never enjoyed playing or watching any until I experienced mixed martial arts in an octagon fence/cage. If you haven’t seen it and have a penis, please fix one or the other. That crap is the shit. Who doesn’t like insane men willingly (or unwillingly) jumping in a cage and beating the life blood out of each other? Pussies, that’s who, and pussies stink.

Suck it world.

Man on the Moon: Face it, it was a race, to the moon, and we won. I don’t care if the USSR cloned a dinosaur/minotaur beast and puts a damn army of them on the moon, we still got a man there first, and that’s damn cool. Next race, put a man on the sun. If any country can beat us there Niel Armstrong will look like Pauly Shore if he hadn’t made Biodome. (You know that shit was funny, don’t even lie. Unless you never smoked weed, and then it probably wasn’t funny, but that’s your own fault not his)

Porn: After a lengthy break from blogging I’m back to report the ol’ USA produces more porn than any other country on earth. (I didn’t happen across any provable facts during my break, so sue me) If Faith up there can’t give you a few great reasons why porn is awesome, then I sure as hell can’t explain it in a way you will understand. If that is the case think of it like physics, and then just understand I’m pretty much Einstein when it comes to this topic. (That’s why I’m on the internet instead of out there in real life somewhere.)

Anheuser-Bush: The number one seller of beer on the planet. Sure there are a lot of other companies and countries that make much better beer, but that doesn’t change a thing. They actually are the king of beers. For all you beer snobs out there, there’s a reason such watery swill is dominating the planet. Poor people like drinking too, and for the price they actually deliver a good quality beverage. Also a little known fact about Budweiser for all you Heineken fans out there: if you accidentally leave a Budweiser under your car seat in the middle of the dog days of summer for three days and it doesn’t explode from the heat, it tastes exactly like Heineken. It’s probably not safe to drink, but I did once and it was delicious once I got it chilled down.

As you can see America has a lot of great things I enjoy, unfortunately none of them are on the Olympics. While it is true that one great thing about our country is that everyone except the Tea Party people usually make room for other folks to enjoy things they don’t support, the fact remains that the Olympic Games are exactly like the state of the union address, no matter how important it’s supposed to be, it’s still not as good as the regularly scheduled programming. That’s what highlight reels are for.

Bat Out of Hell

Sometimes my life feels like one long ass practical joke on me. Like there really is a God, but he’s not that benevolent triforce they keep talking about on the 700 club. The God in my life is a teenage prick and spends all the time in which he’s not masturbating, sending unpleasant events into my life. Sometimes the bad events are traumatic, like going to jail. Sometimes the bad events are more a general sense of dread and failure, like my alcoholism. Or sometimes they seem like direct attacks, out of my control, like when I got laid off in July because I was the only person at my branch without children or a mortgage.

But sometimes, more often than I would like, these events take an incredibly literal form. The other day I went over to my parents house to visit with my aunt one last time before she left for Pennsylvania and I wouldn’t see her again for months or possibly years. I had a great visit, we talked about all the things that have been going on in everyone’s lives. Aunt Val is always a laugh riot, and my parents drink more when she’s around, so by the end of the night everyone is always feeling good and having a ball.

And so I headed out, feeling great and ready to get home so I could have a few drinks of my own. Normally I would put in my headphones so I could listen to my iPod on the drive home, but I was thinking about the ice cold beer in the fridge and completely forgot about my music. Instead I left my headphones tucked in my shirt collar, hanging down inside my shirt on my chest.

One of the bad things about driving a scooter (of which there are many) is that after you’ve driven one for a few years you tend to zone out a little bit while driving down familiar stretches of road. The roads in my part of town are all but empty late on a Saturday night, so I get to take up a whole lane instead of white knuckling the curb as angry motorists whiz past. And I already have every bump and manhole memorized anyway. I was relaxing, cruising along by myself and enjoying the cool evening air and the smells of cut grass and flowers.

All of the sudden a brand new obstacle flew into the meager shine of my headlights. With no time to react, I recognized it as fresh squirrel roadkill. I couldn’t swerve, I couldn’t respond at all. My only choice was to fly right over top of the ground-beef-like remains and hope for the best. Now this isn’t normally a problem. In fact I routinely hit roadkill because I ride as far over as I can so less people will try to kill me in their gigantic, impatient vehicles. Generally I won’t even feel a squirrel due to the compacting of repeatedly being ran over. Deer pose a serious problem, but I’ve even hit animals as large as raccoons and possums without incident.

This was not one of those times. Teenage God was sitting in the clouds watching and laughing his ass off like he had just left a flaming bag of dog crap on my front porch. This squirrel was fresh. As I heard the thump-thump of the corpse under my tires I saw what appeared to be a bat out of hell. A seemingly huge chunk of rotting meat flew into the air directly in front of my face. I watched in slow-motion horror as it spun forward, then slowed. As life slammed back into real time, the carnage before me lost forward momentum, caught the wind, and slung back directly into my chest.

It’s only in moments like this that you find out exactly what kind of man you are. Are you the kind of man who epitomizes chest hair and who drinks whiskey without making a stupid face, or are you a shrimp-dicked little girly man who sleeps with a night light and names his pet goldfish Lolly Pop? I am, unfortunately, the latter it would seem.

As I felt the thud directly in the center of my sternum, it took every ounce of gristle in my body to keep myself from completely losing control of my vehicle and crashing in a fiery blaze, leaving behind only a sad epitaph about how wimpy I am to remember me by. I swerved erratically and flailed wildly at my chest. Unable to determine whether or not mangled animal parts were hanging off me I pulled into the next shopping center parking lot.

Without taking my helmet off I started brushing my chest again. Unable to see my chest with my helmet on, I realized in horror there was a lump on my chest under my shirt! Holy shit, the meat had flown down my collar and was stuck to my bare chest, most likely teeming with ebola, rodent aids, and spina bifida. I don’t need to know what spina bifida is to be afraid of it. I’ve seen Fox News, I’ve watched Glenn Beck, I know freaking out before you know what you’re facing is not only good for you, it’s patriotic!

Ripping my helmet off I clutched at my chest, trying to dislodge the sickening lump of what can only be pure leprosy by now. And that’s when I remembered I had forgotten about my music and I was standing in the middle of a parking lot in suburbia frantically trying to dislodge my own headphones.

As some of the adrenaline started to ebb and my heart slowed down to the level of a small dog on meth I tried to gather my senses. Did I piss myself in terror? No. Good. Was the roadkill still on me anywhere else? … No. Good. Is my scooter intact? Holy shit the pice of shit that hit me is still there! Oh sweet lord it’s so big and disgusting!

Turns out the wad of deceased squirrel had bounced harmlessly off my chest and landed in between my legs. After grossing out for another minute or so at the thought of catching some zombie movie STD from roadkill near my dick I decided I had better just wad it up in an old receipt, throw it at a nearby Hummer2 and go get drunk. I may not have had the coolest head in my unexpected, stressful situation, but I can at least say I didn’t scream like a girl (I don’t think) and I did manage to stay on the road and upright. That’s close enough to a victory for me.

Geisha is … Awesome!

You know those rare moments in life where you find something on the internet that’s truly amazing. Something other people NEED to know about. Like when you realize all the old Mario games are available for free, or the first time you see 2 girls 1 cup? Well I recently ran across one of those rare gems on Robert Popper’s blog, which is brim full of hysterically bizarre clips from around the globe.

It’s a robot gore movie titled Robogeisha. I’m not really sure how to describe it honestly. The basic premise is that there are a bunch of android geisha ninjas that run around killing people in bizarre only-the-Japanese-would-ever-think-of-this scenarios. I’ve probably seen this trailer fifteen times now. I keep going back and finding new weird shit. Here’s a very short list of the weird things I remember:

-a ninja girl covered in dildos popping out of another girl

-acidic breast milk

-death by shrimp

-a circular saw (not a chainsaw) popping out of someones mouth

-butt swords and armpit swords

-bleeding skyscrapers

Of course the geniuses behind a masterpiece like this would be at fault to limit the public to just one work of art. Enter Machine girl, the story of a one armed girl who cut a LOT of arms off. Some of the other trailers were weirder than this one, but this one at least kind of made sense. And who doesn’t love an amputee with a chainsaw and a gatling gun that strap on their nub?

And last but not least comes the classic love story Tokyo Gore Police. That is, if you love watching cops who look like Darth Vader getting chopped to pieces by genetically engineered mutants. Mutants such as a naked chick with a crocodile head for legs, a guy who walks like a spider cause he has swords for appendages, a man with machine guns for eyes, and a dude with a giant gatling gun arm that shoots fists. And frankly, who doesn’t love that.

I WILL be watching these movies at some time in the future. For every pedophiliac anime the Japanese produce, they make five awesome gore movies to redeem their culture. If only Chuck Norris would get in on this bizarre violence trend, Hollywood could go ahead and throw in the towel, because nobody would ever watch anything else again.