Thursday, May 19, 2016

Day 59 of MUC and day 12 of MOC, and the pond starts musing about fundamentalist religious bigots, but only because the Bolter made the pond do it ...

Strange, the pond missed that big story in the HUN, but never mind, suffice to say that the pond is shocked and appalled.

Some readers have sent links celebrating the demise of the drinker, with Maiden actually getting a disqualification (ABC here) - as if there's something wrong with driving pissed as a parrot on the wrong side of the road - and even worse, a few trampled on the grave of Paul "the magic water man" Sheehan ... who has been finally moved on from Fairfax ... Paul Sheehan given redundancy package by Fairfax - but won't say if he was pushed ...

With nary a charitable Xian thought as to what this might mean for the pond.

Why any idle Monday or Thursday when the pond was short of ideas or copy, the magic water man would hover into view with a cornucopia of bigotry, hate, bad science and Lord Monckton worship ... not to mention the magic water, the sourdough, and generous sponsored trips abroad.

Readers would compete by sending in escalating accounts of elevated follies ... and now, sob, it's gone, all gone, and the pond is in a state of shock and fear staring into the void ...

After all, the pond only gets one magic water man in a lifetime ...

Luckily, the lack of Xian charity became the theme for another man always willing to offer the pond the comic relief needed to get through the day ...

Now the Bolter hasn't been at his climate science best in recent months, while rogues like Greg Jericho stalk the earth scribbling Climate policy silence: Can't our leaders handle the heat?

With the stats heading in the wrong direction - how pleasant it is in Sydney these warm autumnal days - the Bolter has drifted on to other matters.

It's pleasing to see that the Bolter's next mission seems to be to celebrate religious mumbo jumbo nonsense in its Christian form ... (and while we're at it, a thanks to the kind soul who left John Gray's The Immortalization Commission out in the Camperdown streets for the pond's entertainment - another review here. Ta, ever so kind).

And now, it being Thursday, on with the magic water substitute ... (please, no singing of The Who while reading, even if it sounds like he's got a plastic spoon in his mouth).

That's feral hatred?

What a stupid man he is.

The pond has, over the past few months, been dipping into Kenneth Clark's Civilisation, a move sure to alarm people with a visceral fear of well-spoken Poms with extremely bad teeth ...

But the good thing about Clark is the way he dishes it out to both sides in the great war between Protestant and Catholic bigots which tore apart Europe for centuries.

Clark is probably more savage when it comes to the Protestants because they managed to destroy the greater amount of art, while the Catholics always had a soft spot for decadence and icons ...

Iconoclasm was rampant and baleful ...

Of course others get more agitated about the actual killings and the wars, rather than the iconoclastic attacks on art and religious imagery that so upsets Clark ...

Clark at the end of his life made a conversion to Catholicism - maybe he wanted to balance the odds and reduce the risk - and he was inclined to the sort of mealy-mouthed philosophy so memorably outlined at the end of Monty Pythons' The Meaning of Life ...

This was Clark's version ...

"At this point I reveal myself in my true colours, as a stick-in-the-mud. I hold a number of beliefs that have been repudiated by the liveliest intellects of our time. I believe that order is better than chaos, creation better than destruction. I prefer gentleness to violence, forgiveness to vendetta. On the whole I think that knowledge is preferable to ignorance, and I am sure that human sympathy is more valuable than ideology. I believe that in spite of the recent triumphs of science, men haven't changed much in the last two thousand years; and in consequence we must still try to learn from history. History is ourselves. I also hold one or two beliefs that are more difficult to put shortly. For example, I believe in courtesy, the ritual by which we avoid hurting other people's feelings by satisfying our own egos. And I think we should remember that we are part of a great whole. All living things are our brothers and sisters. Above all, I believe in the God-given genius of certain individuals, and I value a society that makes their existence possible." (More quotes here).

Well we can leave the god-given bit aside, but the pond does prefer knowledge to ignorance, which is where the Bolter comes in handy, because each day he generously offers examples of ignorance, bigotry and bile.

This day it turns out that he's really only interested in Xianity because it offers him another change to bash the Islamics ...

Well the pond isn't into burning churches, in the way that Protestants did when they ran rampant through Europe and Britain. In fact, Clark's show is full of excellent churches, and the pond quite likes a decent church blessed with copious signs of excess ...

But it's a bit rich for the Xians to keep moaning about how hard done by they are, having spent a couple of thousand years demonising and persecuting all sorts of minorities, and close on fifty per cent of the Anglican "complimentary" population fitted up with Eve's criminality.

Clark again:

In the early twelfth century century the Virgin had been the supreme protectress of civilisation. She had taught a race of tough and ruthless barbarians the virtues of tenderness and compassion. The great cathedrals of the Middle Ages were her dwelling places upon earth. In the Renaissance, while remaining the Queen of Heaven, she became also the human mother in whom everyone could recognise qualities of warmth and love and approachability... The stabilising, comprehensive religions of the world, the religions which penetrate to every part of a man's being--in Egypt, India or China--gave the female principle of creation at least as much importance as the male, and wouldn't have taken seriously a philosophy that failed to include them both...It's a curious fact that the all-male religions have produced no religious imagery--in most cases have positively forbidden it. The great religious art of the world is deeply involved with the female principle.

Well yes, but given that Australian taxpayers no longer have much to do by way of funding secular art, why should taxpayers be fitted up with a tax bill for Christians wanting to preach intolerance and bigotry? (By the by, the pond is told that if you deduct the cost of running Australian opera, the percentage drop in arts funding under the Liberal government is extraordinary in its extent).

Never mind, on with the Bolter, determined to drag up all the usual stuff:

It's around this point that the pond has to interrupt ... the Bolter can't really be pretending that a religion that freely participated in two world wars, and is at the heart of one of the most violent countries in the world - the good old USA - is dedicated to freedoms and pacifism.

Yes, sorry to say, the Germans and Italians fought in both world wars with the notion that god was on their side, as did the other mobs.

As for that theological note about the idea of lex talionis, please, oh please, the notion is common in a number of religions - thanks Babylonians - and certain Christian religions, especially of the fundamentalist kind, have not done away with the notion of punishment of a matching kind, nor have they embraced the turning of the cheek.

You can see it in this sort of sophistry ...

In giving this “new” command, Jesus is not nullifying the Old Testament law (Matthew 5:17). Rather, He is separating the responsibility of the government (to punish evildoers justly) from the responsibility we all have on a personal level before God to love our enemies. We should not seek retribution for personal slights. We are to ignore personal insults (the meaning of “turn the other cheek”). Christians are to be willing to give more of their material goods, time, and labor than required, even if the demands upon us are unjust. We should loan to those who want to borrow, love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us (verses 43–48). Enforcing “an eye for an eye” is the magistrate’s job; forgiving our enemies is ours. We see this played out today every time a victim stands up in court to publicly forgive a convicted criminal — the forgiveness is personal and real, but the judge still justly demands that the sentence be carried out. (here).

So on you go with capital punishment, and please,  make it as brutal as you like if you can still find the right chemical stew to shove into the veins.

It was the Romans - what have they ever done for the pond? - who decided it might be better to substitute fines, delicts, for brutalisation, but the Christian principle lingered on in Britain with punishments such as flogging, branding, mutilation and the pillory, and by golly, they're still doling it out in certain former colonies to this very day for errant gays (EB delicts here - oh EB whatever happened to you?)

Meanwhile, it's around this point that the barking mad Bolter jumps the shark, nukes the fridge and bays at the moon ... because it's a chance to have a go at the ABC and Jon Faine delivering a perfectly sensible response to fundamentalist bigotry ...

The trouble with this sort of selective misreading is that it lets fundamentalists of the Xian persuasion off the hook. You don't have to look far to come across a story such as Arizona pastor publicly supports death by stoning for homosexuals.

The Bolter might have gone all touchy feely new age Christ, but the news has yet to catch up with a lot of fundamentalists, especially of the American kind.

Hey, the angry Sydney Anglicans are just as bad, what with the way they see the Adam and Eve story as a model for modern female relationships. They even have a number of true believers in their midst who follow the young earth theory and all the other sorts of nonsense and bigotry that emanate from the old testament.

Where does this sort of Bolter apologia lead us?

Well it condemns Islamic fundamentalism, and who could argue with that?

But it pretends that all is well with Christianity, no matter how that religion parades its bigotry, hate, fear and loathing, abuse of homosexuality and patriarchal desire to control women's bodies ...

And so it does a profound disservice to civilisation, and the taming of the worst excesses of Xianity, a taming that still has many miles to travel. Contrary to the Bolter's nonsense, they're not going to go away, but dammit they have to be trained to keep their bigoted delusions to themselves ...

Sure it's an even bigger job tackling the delusions of fundamentalist Islamics, but anyone who can profess a faith in Christianity is delusional, and willing to forget the many crimes committed in the name of Christianity in the past century, let alone the preceding centuries. A rough equivalent is the brand of Marxism that's willing to overlook the mass murders of Mao and Stalin ...

Being a biogted fundamentalist himself, the Bolter is incapable of understanding that it's bigoted fundamentalism that's the problem, not just a certain brand of fundamentalism that other fundamentalists might oppose for the sake of a good bout of bigoted war-mongering ... while the rest of us just want to get on with a quiet life...

In the old days, the pond used to think it was in the magic water.

Perhaps it's in the genes, perhaps it's in both, but since we're suddenly speaking of Xian compassion, you know that astonishing, deluded Bolter remark about treating strangers as your kin, how's it working out in the Bolter's caring, compassionate, good Samaritan 'mutton Dutton is right' world?


  1. I guess bolt, unlike Ghandi, hasn't noticed that so many christians are so unlike christ.

    1. Regarding the Bolter, all one can do is repeat the pronouncement by Richard Hofstadter (which I quoted back on Day 46, 6th May) to the effect that:

      "...there is a style of mind, not always right-wing in its affiliations, that has a long and varied history. I call it the paranoid style simply because no other word adequately evokes the qualities of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind."

      The Bolter is, of course, a perfect example thereof. The full Hofstadter article can be found at:

    2. GB - Your reference to Richard inspired me to search out an old copy of Douglas. "There are three authors - Z, T and E. Now it happens that Z only exists in a novel by T. Likewise T only exists in a novel by E. And strangely E too only exists in a novel by Z. Now is such an authorship triangle REALLY possible?

      Of course. But there's a trick. All three authors Z, T and E are are themselves characters in another novel - by H! You can think of the Z-T-E triangle as a Strange Loop, or Tangled Hierarchy."

      Seems to sum up how the loons work.

      Douglas R. Hofstadter, "Godel Escher Bach, An Eternal Golden Braid" p 689.

    3. My diagnosis of bolt is that he suffers from narcissistic personality disorder: inflated sense of his own importance, deep need for admiration, lack of empathy for others and a fragile self-esteem that's vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

    4. Or Dunning-Kruger

    5. Or maybe all of the above, except that I wouldn't want to hint that there's nearly that much to the Bolter in reality.

      Re D Hofstadter, Anony, just a bit like Vonnegut Jr, Kilgore Trout, Venus on the Half-Shell and Phillip Jose Farmer.

    6. Winnegans Fake! (Riders of the Purple Wage)

    7. The pond is impressed, and had to resist the impulse to re-write the abuse to include some of these excellent examples ...

    8. Oh yeah, Anony, now there's a scifi novelette I still have much affection for: Riders of the Purple Wage. Best thing Farmer ever wrote (which excludes Riverworld).

  2. The Alan Jones influence lives on at Kings.


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