aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
The faith-based book (again)
Bart Ehrman was on the Daily Show tonight. His book, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why, explores how scribes—through both omission and intention—changed the Bible.
In the context of the discussion of the accuracy of Wikipedia, dare I point out the huge percentage of folks in this country who read the Bible as technically accurate literal truth?
Now, I’m no Bible scholar, not even an amateur, but I know that the technology of the day required that it came down to us either as oral stories, or it was hand written and copied. Then we toss in the vagaries of translation.
But still today I live in a country where 45 out 50 states prohibit legal recognition of my committed life-partnership based largely on people’s faith in the accuracy of that book.
And we’re upset that Wikipedia is badly written and has errors?
“South Park” co-creator Matt Stone responded sharply in an interview with The Associated Press Monday, saying, “This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology… He has no problem - and he’s cashed plenty of checks - with our show making fun of Christians.”
Last November, “South Park” targeted the Church of Scientology and its celebrity followers, including actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta, in a top-rated episode called “Trapped in the Closet.” In the episode, Stan, one of the show’s four mischievous fourth graders, is hailed as a reluctant savior by Scientology leaders, while a cartoon Cruise locks himself in a closet and won’t come out.
Stone told The AP he and co-creator Trey Parker “never heard a peep out of Isaac in any way until we did Scientology. He wants a different standard for religions other than his own, and to me, that is where intolerance and bigotry begin.”
In an interview published in GQ earlier this year, show co-creator Trey Parker said, “To be honest, what kept us from [parodying Scientology] before was Isaac Hayes. We knew he is a Scientologist and he’s an awesome guy. We were like, ‘Let’s just avoid that for now.’ Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ Finally, we just had to tell Isaac, ‘Dude, we totally love working with you and this is nothing personal, it’s just we’re “South Park,” and if we don’t do this, we’re belittling everything else we’ve ripped on.’ “
The “Trapped” episode is slated to air again at 10 p.m. Wednesday on Comedy Central. The 10th season of “South Park” begins March 22.
At the time, in an excellent article, Julie Hinden writing in Findlaw asked, Could Tom Cruise Sue “South Park” For Suggesting He is Gay? And Even If He Could, Should He? Here’s the now classic clip of the town calling on Tom to “Please come out of the closet...”
My medical woes continue, more tests and the doctor again tomorrow. We’re adding a bathroom on our house; construction began last week. We’re also having new windows put in. We’ve got to have all the furniture moved away from the windows - everywhere in the house! - and they’re coming at 7 a.m. tomorrow.
I have been working throughout so it’s hard to do substantive blogging. You’ll forgive me, then, for this cheap post:
My office shares a men’s room with everyone who works on our level. The bathroom sports three stalls, each of which is outfitted with the most uncivilized technology of the modern age-the hands-free, automatic-flush toilet bowl.
(Before you read farther, please excuse the scatological nature of this article. Decorum would generally preclude me from writing about things so unsavory. But if no one speaks up, we will all be condemned to suffer indignities at the hands of this wretched sanitation cop. And I trust that once I make my case here, we will have our solution and will never have to speak of such matters again.)
To understand why hands-free toilet technology stinks, you must first understand three things that any well-designed loo should permit you to do. READ ON (if you dare).
LATER: It occurs to me to mention that I don’t share Nick’s disdain for the automatic-flush toilet bowl. I like the handy “eject” button and find it more sanitary than a “flush levver” (pictured). Doug asks, “What if the power goes out?” Good point.
The windows guys just arrived. It’s good that we got that furniture moved…
A Sour Grapes Rant
Annie Proulx plays it as it lays. On the Brokeback loss:
The people connected with Brokeback Mountain, including me, hoped that, having been nominated for eight Academy awards, it would get Best Picture as it had at the funny, lively Independent Spirit awards the day before. (If you are looking for smart judging based on merit, skip the Academy Awards next year and pay attention to the Independent Spirit choices.) We should have known conservative heffalump academy voters would have rather different ideas of what was stirring contemporary culture. Roughly 6,000 film industry voters, most in the Los Angeles area, many living cloistered lives behind wrought-iron gates or in deluxe rest-homes, out of touch not only with the shifting larger culture and the yeasty ferment that is America these days, but also out of touch with their own segregated city, decide which films are good. And rumour has it that Lions Gate inundated the academy voters with DVD copies of Trash - excuse me - Crash a few weeks before the ballot deadline. Next year we can look to the awards for controversial themes on the punishment of adulterers with a branding iron in the shape of the letter A, runaway slaves, and the debate over free silver. [...]
The hours sped by on wings of boiler plate. Brokeback’s first award was to Argentinean Gustavo Santaolalla for the film’s plangent and evocative score. Later came the expected award for screenplay adaptation to Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry, and only a short time later the director’s award to Ang Lee. And that was it, three awards, putting it on equal footing with King Kong. When Jack Nicholson said best picture went to Crash, there was a gasp of shock, and then applause from many - the choice was a hit with the home team since the film is set in Los Angeles. It was a safe pick of “controversial film” for the heffalumps.
After three-and-a-half hours of butt-numbing sitting we stumbled away, down the magnificent staircases, and across the red carpet. In the distance men were shouting out limousine numbers, “406 . . . 27 . . . 921 . . . 62” and it seemed someone should yell “Bingo!” It was now dark, or as dark as it gets in the City of Angels. As we waited for our number to be called we could see the enormous lighted marquee across the street announcing that the “2006 Academy Award for Best Picture had gone to Crash”. The red carpet now had taken on a different hue, a purple tinge.
The source of the colour was not far away. Down the street, spreading its baleful light everywhere, hung a gigantic, vertical, electric-blue neon sign spelling out S C I E N T O L O G Y.
“Seven oh six,” bawled the limo announcer’s voice. Bingo.
For those who call this little piece a Sour Grapes Rant, play it as it lays.
Vive La France!
DRM News, the French want to open the iPod:
France is pushing through a law that would force Apple Computer Inc to open its iTunes online music store and enable consumers to download songs onto devices other than the computer maker’s popular iPod player.
Under a draft law expected to be voted in parliament on Thursday, consumers would be able to legally use software that converts digital content into any format.
It would no longer be illegal to crack digital rights management—the codes that protect music, films and other content—if it is to enable to the conversion from one format to another, said Christian Vanneste, Rapporteur, a senior parliamentarian who helps guide law in France.
“It will force some proprietary systems to be opened up ... You have to be able to download content and play it on any device,” Vanneste told Reuters in a telephone interview on Monday.
Here’s the Reuters story.