Wednesday, April 05, 2017

In which the pond retreats to the safety of dashing Donner's Judeo-Christian musings ...

The reptiles delivered a double whammy today, but before dallying with the dashing Donners, the pond felt compelled to enjoy a little extra-marital dalliance with Erica, naughty, but done in strict accordance with the Mike Pence rule of never meeting with a man alone other than with the husband present ... (Atlantic it here).

Oh dear, that sounds quite Islamic fundamentalist, or perhaps Catholic priest celibate. Could we stick to something easier, like worrying about young people lewdly dancing, their lithe bodies supple and swaying to the rhythm, their moist flesh clammy with desire, their pert nipples and peni jutting into their drip-dry acrylic garments ...

Sorry, that must have come from an acid flashback to the time when Mother Grundy, rather than Erica, stalked the earth ... 

Oh please, please, the pond knows the answer to that one, and can even throw in another ...

The most excellent thing is that Twitter went wild, and that there are ways to avoid the 140 character limit, so that the pond might catch up with the aforementioned press release here ...

Who needs the Billy Gra Gra rule when we have Erica?

Enjoy it the pond did, and all that talk of dishonest reports, and objective analysis, and diversity and acceptance provided a natural segue to Donners ...

Well where else to go, with the Devine crash-tackling the men with no necks ...

Quick, take it away Donners before the pond gets concussion  ...

The pond's not sure what's the funniest part of this tirade, but will settle for the notion that somehow the Catholic church represents academic rigour and objectivity, and resolutely refuses to offer a Franco-fascist group mentality of child bothering, and never relies on a mentality that restricts dialogue and debate ... and if anyone cares to disagree, why then they can go straight to hell, and no cheating or collecting two hundred bucks as they pass go ...

Now the pond is as keen to talk about Judeo-Christian as the next rabid Catholic, and understands from its Greg Hunting that Nietzche talked of "Judenchristlich", but back in the day, there was much talk of Abrahamic religions, which is to say those that recognised Abraham as one of the founding fathers.

Unfortunately this dragged the dreadful Islamics into the mix, and there could be no talk of how Islam was an ideology rather than a religion, as opposed to the ideological Christians routinely posturing as theologians. Exit Abraham stage right.

There was, of course, another problem with all this talk of the "Judeo" part of the heritage, given the way that the Catholic church in particular, but Christians in general, spent much time and energy demonising and persecuting and harassing the Jews, and conducting assorted pogroms.

It so happens that there's quite a generous listing of pogroms for keen Greg Hunters here ...

For even keener Greg Hunters, there's some tidy reading here ... including:

In the Papal States, which existed until 1870, Jews were required to live only in specified neighborhoods called ghettos. Until the 1840s, they were required to regularly attend sermons urging their conversion to Christianity. Only Jews were taxed to support state boarding schools for Jewish converts to Christianity. It was illegal to convert from Christianity to Judaism. Sometimes Jews were baptized involuntarily, and, even when such baptisms were illegal, forced to practice the Christian religion. In many such cases, the state separated them from their families, of which the Edgardo Mortara account is one of the most widely publicized instances of acrimony between Catholics and Jews in the Papal States in the second half of the 19th century.

As for the modern usage, the Greg Hunting produced this, here:

So perhaps Tony Taylor was out in his dating, but it seems what really happened was that a liberal term produced in response to the Holocaust was actually hijacked by rabid folk of the dazzling, dashing Donners kind ...

It's always a wonder and a delight to the pond when dashing Donners talks of academic rigour since his scribbles for the reptiles seem to be entirely free of the notion ... but what a wonder and a marvel it is to contemplate the glories of Judeo-Christian history ...

Given all this, it seems to the pond that dashing Donners should happily accept the honorific of 'hackneyed cultural warrior', when after all, that is what Donners is, that is what Donners does ... hack out endless gobbets and sprays in defence of a meaningless concept, because in essence "Western civilisation" is a useless construct. Or even, in the old days, "civilization", when the use of "s" instead of "z" was seen as the sure sign of the end of civilisation and the arrival of the rapture ...

It leads to all sorts of idle rhetoric, as noted by the pond before. Are the Ruskis in or out? What about the middle east? How are the Jews allowed in, if other Semites are excluded? Should we mention the role of gunpowder, the compass, paper, and even humble spaghetti? Wouldn't you know it, there's a list of Chinese inventions here ...

The trouble, going back to the Greeks and the Romans, is that those pesky adventurers freely borrowed, stole and incorporated notions from other civilisations, along with quite a few slaves, so that the Roman Empire turned into something of a stew ... and that tradition has continued on ...

There are no doubt some who yearn for the certainties of medieval times and the Holy Roman Empire, but you have to be truly fucked in the head and the heart not to enjoy the diversity of the world.

Sure, it's problematic, it's tricky, it's difficult, and the urge to shout at the clouds "why don't you think like me, and always agree with me" arises from time to time ...

So in the end the pond decided just to end with a song and a dance ...along the lines of that  much loved Mike Pence tune ...

Why can't a woman be more like a man? 
Men are so honest, so thoroughly square; 
Eternally noble, historically fair; 
Who, when you win, will always give your back a pat.
Why can't a woman be like that? 

But these lyrics seemed bland and beside the point. They needed a little re-working, a freshening up:

One Judeo-Christian in a million may shout a bit. 
Now and then there's one with slight defects; 
One, perhaps, whose truthfulness you doubt a bit. 
But by and large we are a marvelous Western Civilisation tribe! 
Why can't a secularist take after Judeo-Christians? 
Cause Judeo-Christians are so friendly, good-natured and kind. 
A better companion you never will find. 
If I were hours late for a transubstantive dinner, would you bellow? 

Of course not, dear fellow ...

Why can't a secularist be more like a Judeo-Christian? 
Judeo-Christians are so decent, such regular chaps. 
Ready to help you through any mishaps. 
Ready to buck you up whenever you are glum. 
Why can't a diverse secularist be a chum? 
Why is thinking something secularists never do? 
Why is logic never even tried? 
Straightening up their hair is all they ever do. 
Why don't they straighten up the mess that's inside? 
Why can't a secularist behave like a Judeo-Christian? 
If I was a secularist who'd been to a ball, 
Been hailed as a Western Civilisation Roman Emperor by one and by all; 
Would I start weeping like a bathtub overflowing? 
And carry on as if my home were in a tree? 
Would I run off and never tell me where I'm going?
Why can't a damned uppity secularist be like me? 

And so on, but perhaps it's best to stop for a cartoon before hysteria takes over completely ... with more certitudinous Wilcox here ...


That almost works for those making the case against certitude in Judeo-Christian religion ...unless the idea is to fight like cats and dogs for centuries, and bung on a couple of world wars and a Holocaust or three, and call it civilisation ...


  1. Hi Dorothy,

    Where would dear old “Western Civilisation” be were it not for the happy confluence of events that led to the Abbasid dynasty building it’s capital in what would become Baghdad in the 8th Century?

    The ‘Translation Movement’ that grew from the patronage of the Caliphs, along with the new cheaper paper technology imported from China ensured the survival of many ancient Greek and Roman texts that were lost in Western Europe.

    Another serendipitous import was the introduction of the decimal Hindu-Arabic numerals developed by mathematicians in the Indian subcontinent around AD 700. Building on the translated works of earlier Greek Mathematics (Euclid, Archimedes, Apollonius) but using this new and easier notation, huge progress was made with decimal fractions. geometry and trigonometry. The creation of algebra (meaning completion or “reunion of parts” in Arabic) led to ways to solve polynomial equations.

    Fortunate for “Western Civilisation” that it was able to tap into all this accumulated knowledge in the later part of the medieval ages in what would be lead up to the Renaissance.

    Evidently this isn’t the sort of history, a hackneyed cultural warrior like Donnelly, wants teaching to susceptible young minds.


    1. But but butt, DW, your reference sadly omits any mention of Omar Khayyam (18 May 1048 – 4 December 1131) of whom Wikipedia says:

      Born in Nishapur, in northeastern Iran, at a young age he moved to Samarkand and obtained his education there. Afterwards he moved to Bukhara and became established as one of the major mathematicians and astronomers of the Islamic Golden Age. He wrote one of the most important treatises on algebra written before modern times, the Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra (1070) which includes a geometric method for solving cubic equations by intersecting a hyperbola with a circle.[3] He contributed to a calendar reform.

      But it doesn't mention that the "calendar reform" undertaken by the Tentmaker was actually motivated by the fact that because of 'julian' calendar drift, Muslims were all praying on the wrong days. So it goes.

      And of course Khayyam was a little later than the glory days of The House of Wisdom - round about the time of the first Seljuk Turk conquest of Baghdad (1055), in fact - that in turn being a little later than the Seljuk Turk conquest of Persia (aka Iran) in 1044. But Bertrand Russell once said of Khayyam that " Omar Khayyam was the only man known to [Russell] who was both a poet and a mathematician.

      Here is some of his immortal wisdom, with or without a house:

      Oh, come with old Khayyam, and leave the Wise
      To talk; one thing is certain, that Life flies;
      One thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies;
      The Flower that once has blown forever dies.

      Myself when young did eagerly frequent
      Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument
      About it and about; but evermore
      Came out by the same Door as in I went.

      With them the Seed of Wisdom did I sow,
      And with my own hand labour'd it to grow:
      And this was all the Harvest that I reap'd --
      "I came like Water and like Wind I go."


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