Blackwell v. Hitchens – it’s like watching a baby seal being clubbed.
That is awesome. Also, Hitchens is flat out wasted on National TV, which is almost enough to make me forgive him for cheer leading for the Iraqi mess. Almost.
@Tommmcatt the Wet Sprocket: Holy fucking shit, he’s so blotto.
You have to descend into the belly of the beast to understand what the christian viewpoint is on this. The hardcore christians who are intelligent, and most of these are catholic (and by the way, the rise in prominence of conservative catholicism, is a major new trend you don’t hear much about, but just look, Scalia, Roberts, Alito, Newt just converted, its a major shift away from the anti-intellectual, “the good book is all I need” conservative fundamentalism of the past 30 years, towards a highly, and deviously intellectual catholic christian conservatism) and these intellectual conservative christians will debate you all day on the proposition that morality and ethics themselves are absolutely impossible without belief in God. Thats why this dude thinks all he has to say is that our country has a “moral foundation” to prove it has a christian foundation. He and his fellow travellers believe absolutely that morality is impossible without christianity.
@Tommmcatt the Wet Sprocket: If only I were that eloquent when sober.
I think his drunkeness gives him gravitas. I don’t think Churchill was often sober. His daily regimen was, if I recall correctly, a pick-me-up in the morning, a half bottle of wine with lunch, port mid-afternoon, and then cocktails at 4:30. I like his style.
@blogenfreude: No shit brother, my thought exactly.
@Promnight: I’m in Camp Hitchens on this. I am so sick of the meme that you can only have an ethical or moral guideline to your life if you belief in dead men floating in the sky. I think what’s much harder is not being able to say “WWJD?” but instead, “WWID?” and doing the right thing.
Besides, I believe that our fur babies go to heaven where they’re young again and there are things to sniff and chase and roll in. I’m not so sure about humans earning that right.
@SanFranLefty: Don’t hate your species. We are only as bad as anyone and anything else. There is no capacity for good without the capacity for evil. Morality is all about choice. We can choose, animals cannot, they just have their inherent nature and thats that. Because of the fact that when we are good, its because we chose to be good, and when we are bad, we chose to be bad, that makes us good, or bad. The pleasantness of a pleasant animal is as devoid of moral content as is the viciousness of a vicious animal, they just are.
We are the ones who choose to be vicious, or not. When we are good, we are better than the animals, when we are bad, we are worse.
@Promnight: And I will temper that even further. There is a very wide spectrum of “humanness” in humanity. Some individuals are not so far above animals, some are further evolved. Some truly lack the ability to rise far above a simple animal morality, I hungry, I eat.
If you are going to praise animals because their simple nature makes them appear “good,” then likewise, you cannot condemn humans whose inherent nature renders them unable to be other than bad. I have represented truly depraved criminals, I have also worked for truly depraved criminals who were considered pillars of their community. What struck me about all the criminals, was that they were stupid, 95% of them, really dumb. Crafty, cunning, yes, but dumb.
But the pillars of the community who wreaked harm of a different sort, but just as much harm, and who did so very carefully, so they never fell afoul of the criminal laws they created in the first place, to their benefit, these people were smart, and therefore so much more to be judged.
OK nojo – I followed your instructions and just popped BG season 1 disc 1 into the player. Unfortunately Netflix sent DISC FUCKING 2! ARgh.
I think we should all re-read Middlemarch. Problem solved.
@Promnight: I think Churchill used to drink a bottle of brandy a night during the war. What’s funny is the blistering contempt in which he is held by many of the English who knew him. They are particularly scathing on the subject of his ‘writing’ which, it seems he didn’t do. His staff did it. Then he came in and gave a twist here and there. I have no idea. But one thought comes to mind: no one complains when Titian does it. The twist at the end, I mean; or Rubens. So I’m not so sure we should mind if Churchill did it too.
However. If we read Middlemarch we can learn how to be good.
I just have to tell a story, its totally irrelevant, but maybe not, because it has some bearing on morality.
I spent my high school years in Florida, in a sleepy town that depended on some manufacturing, Piper aircraft, but mostly either agriculture or tourism. The agriculture was citrus and cattle, yes, we had real cowboys, and we had shitkicking cowboys in my school, and we had kids who were kinda laid back and unobtrusive, and you had to be alert to know that their families owned square miles of citrus groves. And we had surfers and hippies, but less of them.
I had friends in all groups. I went mudding with the rednecks, listening to Waylon Jennings, and I hung with the oceanside kids, trustafarians, or just regular average kids of the 70s.
One night me and a bunch of rednecks were four-wheel driving on the beach, and we came upon a loggerhead turtle laying eggs. We stopped some distance away, approached gingerly, quietly, stayed back, whispered and shushed each other, and gazed in absolute awe as the turtle laid her eggs in the sand. We were hushed and reverent, respectful, aware that we were in the presence of something amazing, ancient, we were in the presence of the miracle of life.
We were all stoned to bejeezus.
I have also been among raucus groups of drunk boys, redneck, and upper middle class frat shitheads (there is no difference). If they ever saw a wild animal, they got out their gun and started pot-shotting. They tortured animals, they were beasts, I saw it.
I have been completely convinced for 30 years that pot enhances and encourages gentleness, thought, appreciation, hey, it may be a dim and dumb appreciation, but at least it puts you in touch with the moment. It makes people empathic.
I think alcohol encourages aggression, violence, anger, posturing, and cruelty. And somehow alcohol encourages the mob thing, its like the locust thing, grasshoppers are fine, but then in a large group they turn into locusts and are a scourge. I have seen drunk boys in a group do things not one of them would do alone. I don’t mean accomplish things through the strength of the group, I mean make bad moral choices that individually none of them would ever make.
I have witnessed a phenomenon that occurs, each individual male is convinced that he must be heartless and cruel to impress his friends, and they all actually do things they really would rather not do, just to convince their friends that they would, when their friends were doing it for the same reason, and would likewise rather not have. Its so strange.
I have never seen this among stoners, though.
@Promnight: Yes, good point that you can’t have the sweet w/o the sour. and re: criminals and the simple minded, that sounds good but, unfortunately until just a year or two ago we still routinely executed retarded people and children in this country, and to this day the guy (not counting Made-Off) who steals a billion or 5 will get a few months in country club prison whereas the poorly-educated, mentally ill, self-medicating drug addict who robs a person at knifepoint for $12.53 gets a strike and 10 to 15 in the state pen.
But then again I spent the day trying to explain to (and arguing with) a room full of people why they can’t break kids’ arms or give them ripped up stained underwear just because the kids are “delinquents,” so right now my faith (or lack thereof) in humanity is pretty low.
Luckily I’ve been drinking a martini and listening to Viktor Krauss jazz/country and Coltrane’s Blue Train and Miles’ Sketches of Spain to restore myself to equilibrium. Or what passes as equilibrium for me.
SFL, we are so completely in agreement. I am not putting it right, you must know, I am so completely exactly with you.
@Promnight: Then pour yourself another martini, and I am watching the rerun of last night’s Daily Show with my avatar as the guest.
It infuriates me when these asshats resort to the “we don’t have to be as erudite as you to understand”. Yes, jackass you do. You are debating morality, religion and the philosophical foundations of our nation. You damn well better be erudite.
@Tommmcatt the Wet Sprocket: Re Hitchens during the Bush admin: It was brutal watching him. I absolutely believe that he knew he was wrong but that his ego wouldn’t allow him to admit it.
@SanFranLefty, promking: You mock me with your martinis while I am still subject to the Lenten restrictions.
@redmanlaw: The restrictions are in your mind, my young apprentice. Join me on the dark side, and have a Long Island Iced Tea.
@cassandra_said: That is the most galling thing, the we don’t have to resort to intellexuality to know what’s right for us and all of ‘Murrica attitude of the xtianists. The pride with which ignorance has been elevated in the national discourse these last decades vexes me profoundly.
To wanton drunkenness, no less, as I have little Hope™ at this point for any type of fundamental change in conscience that might direct us toward a more sustainable mode of being. I think I’m like Hitch that way.
@blogenfreude: /Looks at smoking stump of arm
. . . Mmmm, I dunno.
No restriction on WINE, however. Still working so I can leave town at 7 am for this Springsteen fellow up in Denver tomorrow night.
@redmanlaw: Can’t you sip a Rusty Nail or three on Friday between 1 and 3? [stand back for lightning strike] Or is that the two hours when you’re not supposed to talk? It’s been a couple decades since I went to mass, so I don’t remember the rules.
@redmanlaw: ADD: OMFG, you’re going to see Bruce tomorrow? Mr. SFL saw him in San Josie last week when he kicked off the tour. They were a little rusty but Broooce had major fun. Do you know the sites where you can download your show the next day and burn a CD? If not, pass me a note in the back of class and we’ll send you one.
@cassandra_said: Hey are you the person who for the past week has been trying to friend me on FB who I don’t know but you somehow know 5 of the Stinquers?
@SanFranLefty: That would be me.
@cassandra_said: Well then, darling, why didn’t you say so? Why don’t you hang out here more often?
I deeply regret that, but for an accident of historical timing, there’s no video of Hitch and Richard Burton getting roaring drunk together.
@SanFranLefty: I hang around. I’m the girl over in the corner kicking the floor with her shoe. Interestingly, my online persona is quite the opposite of my personality.
@cassandra_said: Darling, stop kicking the floor and start kicking some ass. Plenty of room on the Stinque dancefloor, especially for more girls.
I just saw the new issue of Newsweek at the grocery store with “The Decline and Fall of Christian America” on the cover. The words are in the shape of a bloody red cross with a pitch black–presumably nihilistic–background. Niiice and subtle. Drama queens much?
Remember when the flag burning epidemic was the Greatest Threat Our Nation Ever Faced? Senators would choke up and start sobbing over the crowds on every street corner burning Old Glory and screaming “Death to America!” Ah, those were the days.
@Original Andrew: I am SO gonna go out and buy that mag just to have the cover framed and hung above my laundry-room toilet.
@Pedonator: I love it when the queens give unsolicited decoration advice. I’m totally doing the same. I have a framed print of a 1930s ad for Scott tissue paper that says “Is your washroom breeding Bolsheviks?” and goes on and on hysterically about how if you don’t give your employees softer tissues they might unionize. The Newsweek cover would compliment it perfectly.
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