a little Q & A session
q. hello, my name is flaming q. liberal, and i'm here with insignificant Christian blogger locdog, who has traveled over three and a half light years to be with us today from his home in the periphery of the blogosphere. we're here to talk to locdog about his thoughts on the recent controversy surrounding the blogs4god website, and also about his thoughts on blogging in general and the role of Christian bloggers. thank you for coming, locdog.
a. no problem.
q. now locdog, perhaps you've noticed the recent fracas on the blogs4god homepage concerning this post by site moderator and Christian blogger kathryn lively.
q. well...do you have any thoughts on it?
a. is this where i'm supposed to say something about being gentle as lambs?
q. you can say whatever you want.
a. oh. good. well then let me start by saying that i really hate this crap. i hate when good blogs and blog related sites degenerate into self-referentialism, self-pity, and pseudo-hurt feelings. people take themselves and blogging in general way too seriously.
q. but you understand that this is a meaningful part of people's lives. you yourself are a blogger after all--
a. so to speak. i'm a blogger in the loosest sense of the term. i have a site on blogspot. i post thoughts there when i can. but i shy away from what andrew sullivan once called the "rat-ta-tat-tat of blogging". i'm more apt to post one or two things a day and let it go at that. even that pace is tough on you intellectually. if bloggers were honest with themselves, they'd admit that about 99% of what they write is either pure knee-jerk or shoehorning current events into their own tried-and-true templates. plus i don't go in for the whole metablog scene, where people obsess over the communal aspects of blogging.
q. yes, but getting back to the topic at hand, there was clearly a strong reaction provoked by the planned parenthood post. regardless of your feelings on the role of blogging, you must admit that it raised some very poignant issues. issues about the role of humor in Christian blogging. Christians are a people who regard themselves as being very humble, after all, and to a lot of people this post didn't demonstrate very much humility.
a. no, i suppose not.
q. then you would disapprove of it?
a. no, not really.
q. why not?
a. because i know of nothing more dangerous than a Christian with a sense of humor.
a. Christian apologist c. s. lewis wrote the screwtape letters, arguably his best known work, starting with the premise that the devil cannot stand to be mocked. i find that one of the most effective ways to make a point is to do so through satire. think about dr. strangelove or jonathan swift. there have been a ton of anti-nuclear films made and a ton of essays written on the rich oppressing the poor, but who do we remember? satire is derisive, it's acidic. it eats through intellectual armor that would repel more straightforward barrages no matter how powerful they were. it gets to people. but it's also a good defense. we make the mistake of taking our Enemy too seriously. we often times miss the inherent absurdity of his positions, so we get drawn into mental boxing matches with a weakling who we could knock out in one round of a brawl. why? because we lack perspective. we lack a sense of humor.
q. i'm not exactly a Biblical scholar, but i can't think of anywhere were Jesus taught His followers to make fun of their detractors.
a. can you think of any instances where Jesus used humor at all?
q. no, but this interview isn't about what i think.
a. but you see my point, don't you? humor simply isn't discussed. we could debate whether the parables were satirical, certainly they involved elements of satire, but that's another issue. there are places in the Bible where satire is used quite effectively, though. read isaiah. now that guy had a mean pen.
q. do you think that there's a line?
a. sure. sometimes we go too far. when i first read kathryn's post, i had sort of a mixed reaction. on the one hand, i thought a lot of what she did was very clever and funny. on the other i thought "there's going to be one helluva backlash." did she cross the line into sin--and i'm going to use that word because, let's face it, that's what we're talking about here. i don't think she did. there are different rules for satire. that's why in our courts satire and slander are treated differently, with one being a constitutionally protected form of free speech and the other being a criminal offense. it's understood that you aren't presenting the literal truth, but are presenting the truth in a humorous way through exaggeration and symbolism. that's what makes it work.
q. she put a bloody milk moustache on margaret sanger.
a. yeah, that was great, wasn't it? sanger was a bloody person. she's left a legacy of blood--a river with the blood of some forty millions flowing through it. and today she's hailed as a heroine, and a visionary leader. she was a racist of the first order, but today her leading proponents, people like gloria steinem, have completely whitewashed her history. telling us that she adopted "eugenics language" as a PR tactic, and that even then she was setting a positive example in a sense by helping us learn from her "misjudgments". misjudgments? she was a butcher. the type that never get anything on their own hands but ink.
q. that's debatable. and lively's caricature is only acceptable if someone first buys into your version of history.
a. no, it isn't debatable and it isn't my version of history. it's sanger's. read her writings.
q. you aren't winning your cause any friends with that attitude. if anything you are driving people away.
a. maybe. that's the risk you run. but then, if someone is going to be run off by the truth, then frankly i don't want them on my side. people talk about "mean-spirited" posts like lively's alienating people. i don't know about that. i think that the real problem a lot of you left-leaning critics have is that whenever we adopt your tactics for a change, we can actually make you look bad. you guys are in a no-lose situation otherwise. if we keep our mouths shut, you win. if we stand up and condemn what you are doing as immoral, you win. we either look like a bunch of amish huddling in our enclaves or else we're judgmental hypocrites. satire changes all of that.
q. but are you really producing a positive image of yourselves in people's minds? you want them to think of margaret sanger with blood on her upper lip when they think of Christian bloggers?
a. i want people to think of Jesus when they think of Christian bloggers, but there are a lot of individuals making up the body. there are a lot of different ways to communicate the message. everyone is working towards the same goal from different angles because our audience is as diverse as we are. i mean, maybe someone like you isn't going to be positively impacted by what lively did, but a young person might. i can see that post having a profound impact on a young person, just the sort who wouldn't dream of sitting through a sermon or a sober analysis of the same topics lively dealt with. reaching the young has got to be where the brunt of our efforts are focused, and posts like lively's can do it. they can get a foot in the door with these kids. get them thinking about things that they may have never bothered to think about before.
q. ok, well that will have to be all for today. i'm up against a break. thank you for being with us.
a. locdog thanks you for inviting him.
there's hope for our legal system after all
a federal judge has gunned down a suit against mcdonald's which alleged the company was responsible for the obesity and related health problems it's food produced in several new york children. said the judge:
"If consumers know (or reasonably should know) the potential ill health effects of eating at McDonald's, they cannot blame McDonald's if they, nonetheless, choose to satiate their appetite with a surfeit of supersized McDonald's products."
ouch. that, my friends, is a cracking open a can of legal whoop-class (as in, "action suit") if ever i saw it. could this be the coup de grace for the whole kit'n'kaboodle of "devil made me do it" litigation? no more suing gun makers for liquor store hold-ups or tobacco companies for cancer? i won't hold my breath, but hey, it's a start. with the american legal system in a state of freefall, this is no time to be picky about parachutes. but despite all that, my favorite part of this story had to be the mcdonald's spokesweasle's comments after the dismissal:
McDonald's spokesman Walt Riker said in a statement that "common sense has prevailed. We said from the beginning that this was a frivolous lawsuit. Today's ruling confirms that fact."
emphasis mine. so according to mcdonald's, it's common sense that their food causes "health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity."
locdog ain't about to let that stop him from enjoying the odd big mac
i thought it was all reagan's fault
locdog doesn't know what to say about that one
fight abortion with abortion
according to the new york times and cnn on this the 30th anniversary of roe v. wade, abortion is pretty much a dead issue. what's left of the battle lies in the courts, but as far as the arena of ideas is concerned, the opinions that were first formed thirty years ago are still in place today, and the two sides have settled down into a protracted, stagnant trench war. while cnn quotes opinion statistics over the decades, the times goes one step further and implores us to "accept that we will never find a solution to the most fundamental disagreements we hold on abortion". activists on both sides of the issue should refocus their energies towards "seeking areas of common ground and merge the power of both movements to serve Americans in a meaningful way." doesn't seem that people like jane roe should actually exist then, but they do. ms. roe herself, norma mccorvey, is now a Christian and a pro-life activist after being won over by the love of an evangelical minister who she met shouting across the lines at a demonstration. far from being mired in "ambiguity and anxiety," this debate is very much alive, and its battles still rage on with major victories and defeats. only those who wish to defend the status quo would have you believe otherwise.
that having been said, i'm not going to debate abortion per se in this post. heck, why should i ever? the pro-abortion crew certainly doesn't. to them, the debate is about everything but abortion. it's about gender politics and the right to chose and the role of government in women's lives and privacy and so forth. funny how little attention they give the actual deed itself. and so i think that's what i'll do right now. let's take a look at partial birth abortion--three little words you will never read in the papers or hear on the television without first reading or hearing "so-called" or, as today's nytimes prefers, "the procedure they call partial birth abortion." emphasis mine. actually, it's a very good name. "dilation and extraction", the medical industry's term, is hopelessly vague: any birth is a dilation and extraction in a sense, even those that don't end in infanticide.
in case you haven't heard, partial birth abortion is a late-term abortion which is usually performed around the fifth or six month give or take. after dilating the cervix over a couple of days, the abortionist induces a breech delivery--something which doctors try to avoid under normal circumstances. the fetus is grabbed by the legs and pulled out until its shoulders have been delivered. the delivery is then halted and the back of the fetus' neck is exposed. scissors are jammed up through the base of the skull, then opened to create a hole. a tube is inserted and the brains are suctioned out, collapsing the skull. the remainder of the dead fetus is delivered.
what would happen if the fetus was accidentally delivered the entire way before the "D & X" could occur? why, then it would magically cease to be a fetus and become a real, live child--sort of like pinocchio. the exact same procedure which was legal behind the veil of a scant three inches of vaginal canal a minute earlier would now be first degree murder. i've heard tell that this very thing has happened on occasion, reports of live babies being drowned by abortionists after botched procedures abound. don't know if they are true or not, but there is a very good reason to suppose they could be.
you see, in other abortion procedures the body of the fetus is sliced to pieces, but in a partial birth abortion the body is delivered whole and can therefore be sold to research facilities and universities for a tidy sum. indeed, the abortionist stands to make more money from the sale of organs to researchers than from the actual procedure itself. the better the condition, the better the price. hence whole, unmolested bodies are the most profitable. (would that i could write like jonathan swift.) on january 14th of this year, the washington times reported the not-so-surprising fact that partial birth abortions tripled over a four year period from 1996 to 2000, despite the fact that abortions in general fell off by 4%. hmm...
thus, that magical difference between fetus and baby is $75 for the eyes, $150 per limb, $100 for the skin, $400 for an intact cadaver, and $999 for the brain, at least that's how opening lines, a body part wholesaler trafficking in fetal tissue, sees it. planned parenthood evidently agreed, because they had a contract with opening lines back in 1998, although they later broke off the relationship "after officials learned of [opening lines'] price list and other business practices." that or after word started getting around, perhaps.
one of the most commonly given arguments in defense of the fetal organ trade is that these were babies that had died (or were going to die) anyway, so why not bring some good out of it? as i heard one pro-life activist recently point out, this was the essentially the defense offered by nazi doctors at nuremburg, who were all hung promptly after the trial. as i see it, the only difference between the jews and the "D & X" victims is about three inches, maybe not even that.
locdog thinks that abortion itself is the best pro-life argument
why have an abortion?
today was "sanctity of life sunday" at my church. my pastor read the following statistics, which you can check out for yourself here. if you'll skip down to the bibliography and follow the link given there (you'll need adobe acrobat to view it), you'll note that these stats were collected by the physicians for reproductive choice and health, and the alan guttmacher institute--neither of which are pro-life organizations to say the least. these, then, are the reasons why women have abortions.
21% feel that they do not have the financial resources to bring up a child.
21% feel that they are not ready for the responsibility of bringing up a child.
16% feel that their life would be changed too much.
12% feel that her relationship with her partner is in difficulty.
11% feel that they are too young, and not sufficiently mature to become a mother.
In 8% of the cases, her children are grown and she does not want to start another family, or that she has all the children that she wants.
About 6% of all abortions are sought because either the woman or fetus has medical reasons.
About 1% of all abortions are sought because of abusive sexual act.
in 93% of the cases, therefore, the reason a woman has an abortion is selfishness. given that there are about 1 million abortions annually, roughly 930,000 babies were killed last year because their lives were presumed to have been too great a nuisance.
you know, in the days of ancient rome, gladiatorial games were held, supposedly, as a means of reinforcing roman virtues and honoring the gods. courage, strength, and justice were underscored in brutal morality plays for the amusement of roaring mobs and the pantheon. to satisfy the roman's nearly insatiable appetite for blood, sometimes hundreds of gladiators would die in a single day. as contemptible and grossly immoral as those games were, at least they stood for something of greater import than convenience.
locdog thinks there ought to be a better reason to take a life than that