Sunday, January 27, 2013

Haters, Pellists, angry Anglicans, and a nice Scientological joke for a Sunday meditation ...

(Above: well you won't find a cartoon at The Guardian about this one, will you?)

A kindly reader recently asked the pond why it hadn't taken a look at the recent Julie Burchill fracas in the UK (Observer removes controversial Julie Burchill article on transsexuals from website and issues apology after Twitter storm)

The only answer was 'so many loons, so little time', though there's a corollary - if you feed a loon or a troll oxygen, it only spurs them on.

There's another corollary - on the internet trolls run wild and free, which is why you can still find Burchill's offensive article here at the UK Terror, though the pond first found a copy of it at 'teh Paradox', home of pirates and fitting company for Burchill. It's also been re-published by Spiked, the perfect home of haters everywhere, which in turn led to some quite outstanding pieces hating the haters (Julie Burchill: What is behind her supporters' talk of the 'right to offend').

The piece itself is nothing but a hate fest of the most puerile kind, by someone who sounds like they've never actually met a TG person, and can't understand different notions of sexuality (separating out, for example, trannies and cross-dressers, and men who like to wear the occasional frock, high heels and wig, like half of Sydney rugby league teams, any jock who turns up on commercial television, and most of the officer class of the Australian navy).

It's an example of ignorance meeting spite, and a reminder of how - since gays have mounted their spirited defence of their rights - TG folk are next in the pecking order for bullying, humiliation and uncomprehending, vindictive, thuggish columns by boofhead scribblers.

Presumably it was published by an editor who clearly didn't read the piece and didn't have a subordinate with enough nous to wave a red flag though this might be a charitable view of the online gutter crawling for hits online that's the norm these days.

In any case, when the red flag didn't go up, it was red faces all round, except for cranks and haters determined to maintain the rage.

And perhaps Burchill's face was nicely pink, glowing with the satisfaction of attention paid, another controversy, another day's wanking rewarded.

But since Sunday is the pond's day of meditation, it did revive memories of Burchill's strange addiction to religion, neatly captured by her wiki here, where you can find the relevant footnotes:

In 1999, Burchill 'found God', and became a Lutheran[ and later a "self-confessed Christian Zionist". In June 2007, she announced that she would undertake a theology degree, although she subsequently decided to do voluntary work instead as a way to learn more about Christianity. She has volunteered in a local RNIB home.  In June 2009 The Jewish Chronicle reported that she had become a Friend of Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue and was considering again a conversion to Judaism. Reported as having attended Shabbat services for a month, and studying Hebrew, Burchill now described herself as an "ex-christian", pointing out that she had been pondering on her conversion since the age of 25. Burchill said that "At a time of rising and increasingly vicious anti-semitism from both left and right, becoming Jewish especially appeals to me. ... Added to the fact that I admire Israel so much, it does seem to make sense – assuming of course that the Jews will have me."

Yes, she's as thick as two London bricks, and as vacillating and empty as a British flag flapping in the breeze of pompous self-promotion, and shameless self-publicity, and peacock self-adoration, and vainglorious self-seeking silliness.

Addle-brained is an understatement, and it's why a TG friend of the pond could laugh Burchill's latest effort off, as the mealy mouthings of someone who will say and do anything to stay in the spotlight.

So many loons, so much fuss, so little time.

Which naturally brings us to the week-old thoughts of Cardinal Pell, speaking for the Pellists in the Sunday Terror on the urgent matter of Freedom of Speech.

Naturally Cardinal Pell is in support of the right of the likes of Burchill to be a complete ning nong, and who could argue with that?

After all, the Catholic church has for centuries practised the fine art of abuse, using offending and insulting words to consign vast swathes of people - gays, women, witches, the notion of TG, Julie Burchill - to an eternity in hell, and who could argue with that?

And it's important to remember that the Catholic church has always asserted the right to discriminate against all sorts of odd bods, except of course for the lesbian nuns who used to lash the pond with a ruler, while down the road the Christian Brothers used to take down the pants of the boys so that a leather strap could be applied to their cutely taut, palely white, suddenly bright pink buttocks without let or hindrance from clothing (you there, wipe that foam-flecked spittle from your lascivious lips at once).

Yes, it's important that principles of pious discrimination be preserved, and the pond can't think of a finer body than the Catholic church to fight for the right to freedom of speech. Long may the church be able to revile - and discriminate against - gays, single mothers, harlots, sluts, fornicators, adulterers, and heretics, and consign them to hell and unemployment, while sucking on the teat of taxpayer dollars.

Not that the press has run entirely the way of the Catholics this week. A couple of days ago Richard Ackland was scribbling Catholic clerics behaving obscenely, but there was an even more poignant story about teachers trapped within the Catholic education system, funded in large part by taxpayers.

Under the header Gay teachers in Catholic schools hide sexuality, Josephine Tovey reported on the active discrimination in Catholic schools, and the need for people to hide their sexuality.

Yep, it's as good an argument as any for the Catholic church to continue its discrimination, and maintain its right under freedom of speech to send them all to hell, in the current world and the next.

Greg Whitby, executive director of schools with the Parramatta Diocese, said expectations of Catholic schools were clearly communicated to applicants and that teaching contracts featured clauses stipulating employees ''adhere and observe the principles and moral standings and teachings of the Catholic Church''. 

Sorry sir or madam, we must ask you to leave that cane, ruler and leather strap at the door. The principles and moral standings of the Church are as variable as a weather cock.

''Being homosexual by nature is not a preclusion to working in Catholic schools,'' he said. 
''But practising and supporting that lifestyle is contrary to what you've agreed to sign up with.'' 
Having teachers who openly flout the teachings of the Catholic church risked undermining those teachings, he said. 
''If students see in their teacher that not only do they talk about this but they actually practise it, that's the power,'' he said. 
For senior positions such as a school principal, Mr Whitby said employees had to be practising Catholics.

Amazing, shameless, vicious, pompous head-banging stuff. Why it could have been written by Julie Burchill.

Rampant discrimination, all supported by the taxpayer, and without a thought as to what the moral standards of the Catholic church might be. No doubt we'll find out more about them in the enquiry into pedophilia ...

The pond particularly liked the notion that if a gay teacher showed some actual pleasure, or pride, or happiness in, or acceptance of being gay, and students noted it, the ensuing chaos and hysteria would turn the whole school gay, seeing as how heterosexuals always seem so unhappy and miserable or confused and slightly demented, like Julie Burchill. (Let's not even talk about the few celibates left in the church).

Send them to the closet if they want a job, and let's lock the door in case they gain "the power".

It puts the Catholic church right up there with the latest flood of eccentricities and oddities from Bob Katter's mad hatter bigoted tea party, with the perhaps the best post 'I wouldn't want my children taught by gay pedophiles" effort coming via Katter candidate's halal post sparks new storm (forced video at end of link)

What to say? Well while maintaining that Islam is as dumb as a stick, or at least as silly as any of the big four religions (and Julie Burchil)l, the pond does recommend the halal cuisine of Faheem Fast Food. Try any of the tandoors when next on Enmore road, and the pond swears you will be in for a culinary treat.

And remember, if you carry on about halal, next thing you have to do is give the Jews a really hard time about kosher (yes, if no halal is available, then kosher will do). (The pond wasn't paid for this promotion, not even a tandoor chicken breast)

All this turbulence leaves little time to devote to the Sydney Anglicans, which is a pity because there's dire heresy at work in Michael Jensen's A Surprising Consensus  as he slowly moves from Calvinist times into the twentieth century:

... what is interesting to me is that there seems to be emerging an agreement from all sides in this discussion that the New Testament features women in speaking roles in front of mixed congregations to a far greater extent than is often now practiced in Sydney Anglican churches. Some of the implementation of complementarian thinking about ministry has been over-zealous, to the point that it ignores what is plainly the case in the Bible. In 1 Corinthians 11 (to take the obvious example) women prophesy in the church gathering, and there is no forbidding them from doing so.

Women speaking in church and prophesying and gnashing teeth and wailing and back-biting and donning sackcloth and ashes? Well maybe Julie Burchill ...

By golly, the Jensenists might make it to 2013 ... around 2113 ...

Naturally when it comes to discrimination and freedom of speech, the angry Sydney Anglicans are right there with the Pellists, with the front page dominated by a secular sign, and a story about New religious freedom group gives evidence.

Yes the freedom to keep gay teachers in the closet is a vital example of the freedom of association and the freedom to demean through speech.

 Julie Burchill and the Pellists and the angry Sydney Anglicans have so much in common:

(above: preserved in digital aspic, as today the Anglican site gets to boasting about local Anglicans given secular honours on Australia Day. What is it with Anglicans and silly secularism?)
What a dull layout and website it is these days, and what to say after the dull dourness of the Calvinists?

How about a bit of Scientological silliness?

It seems Crikey has taken to publishing the thoughts of local PR hacks for scientologists, at least if 'No aliens living inside us': Scientology educates the media (may be behind the paywall) is any guide.

Is it possible to take the defensive outpourings of a cult seriously?

As if the recent dissembling, cheating behaviour seen in The Atlantic isn't something that deserves scorn, or absolutely no space or attention paid to the cult whatsoever, like the pond paying absolutely no heed to Julie Burchill.

Seems like attention must be paid, because the piece ends with a plaintive wail from the cult:

Stewart acknowledges the media coverage of the religion is completely out of whack to the number of Scientologists in Australia. “We’ve been told by media, ‘[it’s] because you keep getting the ratings up’.”

Guys, guys, it's because you're a whacky zany cult, right up there with the Pellists, the angry Sydney Anglicans, the halal bashers and Julie Burchill, only much more fun because you're a Hollywood cult with guys like Tom Cruise to deliver your comedy stylings.

And as a result you do so make for fine comedy, which is why the pond recommends Paul Rudnick's Cruise Control in The New Yorker (happily outside the paywall).

Take it away Mr Rudnick, lighten the Sunday meditative burden.

First the set up:

When Tom Cruise . . . [was] looking to hire a new estate manager . . . prospective staffers had to undergo rigorous testing at the Scientology Celebrity Center in Los Angeles. . . . “The test took an entire afternoon and included questions such as, ‘if you saw a car stuck on the train tracks with people inside, and a train approaching, what would you do?’ ” —Radar Online.

Now a sample of the payoff, before you follow the link to the other tricky questions:

Sources have revealed additional questions from this gruelling exam: 

2. Tom has been married to three lovely actresses. If you glimpsed another lovely actress wandering past the estate, what would you say to her? 
(a) “Come inside—we have a warm fire, porridge, and an ironclad prenup.” 
(b) “The master is currently in Europe, slaughtering aliens, but would you like to watch ‘Cocktail’?” 
(c) “I must warn you, if you keep walking, you’ll come to a wooden footbridge, where George Clooney will ask you out.” 
3. If a friend mocked Scientology as a creepy ersatz religion, how would you reply? 
(a) “Kirstie Alley looks just like the Buddha.” 
(b) “Someday a Scientologist will be President, in a miniseries.” 
(c) “A Scientologist is just a Mormon with an agent.” 

(Below: this seems to bring it altogether. Found at the Gallery of the Absurd here)

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