Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mitt Romney and the Temple of Doom

Christopher Hitchens, my favorite conservative athiest, has written a crackerjack editorial about Romney's duck, cover, obfuscate and dodge strategy with regard to his religion and answering questions about it in the press.  My position:  While I hold no personal animosty toward individual Mormons per se (with the lone exception being Orson Scott Card), the church as a whole has the kind of nutty supernatural/science fiction nonsense shared by Scientology.  Purported golden plates and faux old testiment nomenclature are not enough to make me a believer.  As I have said before and am proud to say again, I believe Joseph Smith was a False Prophet.  If I didn't, I would be a Mormon, wouldn't I?  I suppose that goes without saying, and that by saying it, I'm effectively spitting in the eye of the CJCLDS--be that as it may.  The famous anti-Morman South Park episode, which turns the tables at the end, taught us: all religions are a little bit nutty--what the church believes doesn't matter, it's what the flock does that matters.

Oh, really? 

Hitch raises the specters of racism and polygamy that the LDS eschewed by prophetic fiat at critically convenient times.  Some might see that as divine inspiration, while others might see it as the Prophet holding his spit-covered finger in the wind.

My position: I don't know what's in Romney's heart, nor do I presume to judge.  I only know what he does, and says.  Right now, he's saying nothing about an issue that matters.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Why don't I like Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 as much as I should?  The game is far too complex.  Rules for rules's sake really, which relegates story and structure to the back burner. 

I like roleplaying games because I get to play a role--not roll a bunch a dice.  Role/roll--get it?

I still think that Chaosium's Fantasy Roleplaying (CFR) is the best system I've ever used.  Granted characters can die much more easily than in D&D, but them's the breaks as they say.  I became familiar with CFR playing Call of Cthulhu.  The "game" aspect of the activity was simply a method for gathering a group together to create interactive stories in which the game designer creates the scenario and the players interact with each other and the given circumstances.  This is the kind of gaming I like.  Fast.  And roll checks are simply there to throw obstructions in the players' paths.  Because if it's too easy, it's no fun.

But it's also no fun if it's too hard!  I played D&D last night, but it is simply too complex.  In order to combat the drow rogue I was fighting, I had to stand inside an anti-magic area which negated all my magic bonuses.  I didn't care to do the necessary math so I simply made up a number.  I guessed.  When you're roleplaying, it's difficult to engage the part of the mind responsible for calculations and math.  So I simply don't.  Not my job, as they say.  My job is to roll dice and have fun.  Someone else has to do the math.

Political Pragmatism

Okay, so I didn't vote today and I don't plan to.  I'm leaving the area in a few months and they can have it.  It's hard not to get apathetic when the majority of the electorate votes against new sports stadiums several times and they get built anyway, and when the majority votes for a particular kind of mass transit four times and it doesn't get built.  But that's Seattle politics for you.  Democracy shemocracy.

We can't let issues of such importance be left to an uneducated and politically incorrect electorate!

I'm tired of political correctness, except when I'm not.  What I really want to discuss today are gay Republicans.  Or more specifically, Republicans caught with their pants down with someone of their same gender.  Usually with Republicans there's at least a generational age difference between the two parties, usually but not always, boys.

Thus do gay activists get their homophobic cake and eat it too.  First, a member of a party that is unfriendly to gay concerns is outed as a gay person themselves, and by extension a hypocrite.  Another c**ksucker is exposed in the party of family values, is the subtext, and gay activists know it, and they know it's homophobic.  Their rationale is that they're using homophobia against the homophobes.  But they know the hate and the irony go even deeper.

They know that political correctness has seeped into the very fabric of American life there will be Republicans who will not deal harshly with the gay Republicans exposed in their midst because they don't want to appear to be gay bashing.  They don't want to appear to be the homophobes they probably are...

Gay activists know that this is how they'll react.  So the gay Republican at the center of the scandal is allowed to keep his position because his party members don't want to appear to be intolerant and some of them really are tolerant.  But the gay activists know that the longer the gay Republican stays in office the more difficult it is for the party of Lincoln to appear to be the party of family values.  The gay activists are counting on those gay Republicans at the center of the storm to become a priori evidence of Republican hypocrisy at the next election.

Thus are the gay activists exposed as the homophobes they are.  But hey--it's a political win-win for them...  Karl Rove isn't the only one who knows how to use fags to further his own political ends.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Studying Genocide

Pacific Lutheran University has received an endowment for a Holocaust Studies chair.  I've never heard of such a thing, but it makes sense.  I've researched only one of the concentration camps, KZ Mauthausen, and have discovered that what I knew about the holocaust before undertaking the research was a mere drop in the ocean.  I learned enough to know that I knew very little. 

So much of what I knew about the holocaust was based on films and television, and the odd documentary or two that I had glimpsed.  The truth of the horror was far more involved, planned, and complex than I had imagined.  The genocide of the European Jews was an industry that employed tens of thousands of people - only a fraction of whom were ever brought to justice. 

We must find a way to understand how it happened.  To simply say it was the abberant result of a madman's fiendish plan is to completely discount the possibility that it was the result of a fundamental shift in the conscious, shared perception of reality in the minds of millions.  And that it was facilitated by the poison of propaganda.

We look back at the militarized politics of Germany and say that it could never happen here.  But it may be happening right now!  In 60 years, how will the world look back on what we're doing, or allowing to be done, by our leaders?

Soon all who had direct personal experiences during the holocaust will pass away.  We must find a way to preserve their stories.