Archive for July, 2004

Like school needs teachers, like Kathy Lee needs Regis, I need Jesus

Monday, July 26th, 2004

So the reason there is no update here is that there is a major redesign in the offing and a Masters Thesis to hand-up. The ReImagining Zoomtard Conference will be taking place in a university near you soon since the new career needs a new Zoomtard. He wil return as voteboy because zoomtard territory has been taken by anti-American ranters with an ugly site. Voteboy is the trusted sidekick to Captain Democracy who alongside Neuro-Praxis will be the new stablemates here at antidisinformation. Dave is the design guru, NP is the joke teller, Cptn D fights injustice in the poltical system and I, well, I ramble.

It’ll make for an awesome combination. In the filled with awe sense and not the american teenager “way cool” sense. Now all I have to do is get time to talk to Dave about the photos for Zoomtard/Vote Boy.

Also, anyone know how to get rid of the hi-larious porn spam I suffer from?

Your Correspondent, Feeling the ground give way.

With Your Spouting And Your Swearing, We Don’t Want To Hear About….

Tuesday, July 6th, 2004

Pope John Paul II is thinking about coming to Ireland in the autumn or maybe the springtime. How cool is that? It is to commemorate his historic visit here 25 years ago, where a million turned out to open air mass in a Dublin park. It is a commonly used Rubicon for pre-modern and modern Ireland. It was Catholic Ireland at its peak and at its best- a tremendous outpouring of communal reverie and fun. It was what a religious service should be.

If Il Papa comes again he will find a different Ireland but I’d wager that he knows that better than anyone. The man strikes me as a titan in all senses, a poet, an actor, a sportsman, a politician but most importantly, someone head over heels in love with Jesus. I have no doubt that even in his wizened, Parkinson’s ravaged old age, he keeps track of culture and the development of society outside of his Church.

His iconic speech back in 1979 was made in Galway when he declared, “Young people of Ireland… I love you”. His charisma helped his pull such ostentatious words off.

Last time round, Bishop Fee advised him not to go North of the border because it was feared he would be a catalyst for carnage. Now, the Pope can hope to cap his achievements by blessing one of the great renewals in Western society of the late 20th Century- peace in Northern Ireland.

So yesterday, Rev Willie McCrea of the Free Presbyterian Church and DUP was asked about the proposed visit. Specifically he was asked on national, island-wide radio, whether he would oppose the visit of the Pope.

For those of you who don’t know, the Free Ps are a fundamentalist evangelical church founded by the Rev Iain Paisley in the 1950s that have about 11,000 congregational members up North. Although their numbers are smaller than the Baptists, they get a disproportionately large amount of media coverage and space in the public consciousness because of the oratorical and polemical skills of their founder and because of their intriguing hatreds. Primary amongst their demonized targets is the Pope, who it is claimed is actually Anti-Christ and not a Polish cleric and philosopher who helped bring down the Soviet Union.

The Free P’s are tightly aligned to their founder’s political party, the Democratic Unionist Party. The DUP is much more popular than the Free P church and is now the largest Unionist party in Northern Ireland. They prey on (Protestant Unionist) people’s fears (which are legitimate to a certain extent) that the failure by the IRA to decommission their weaponry makes the continued power-sharing arrangements untenable. Historically they have consistently tried to associate the IRA terrorist campaign with the Vatican. I know that this might seem like a stretch to you, but remember we are talking about Northern Ireland.

So, to get back to the point at hand, which was Willie McCrea’s radio interview. Instead of answering the questions about whether the DUP/Free P would tolerate a visit by “Anti-Christ” to the “Province” as he put it, he began a trademark DUP/Free P diatribe.

He insisted that the Hunger Strikers (10 IRA prisoners who died in protest at the failure of the UK government to grant them Political Prisoner status… In the early 1980’s!!!) had crucifixes blessed by the Pope and therefore the Pope condoned suicide. He reminded us that the IRA had not destroyed all its weaponry and ammunition “in deed and not word” and that the political wing of the IRA, Sinn Fein, wasn’t doing anything about this. Finally he assured us that every Presbyterian minister in Ireland swears that the Pope is Anti-Christ upon ordination. And all the elders think he is Anti-Christ too, allegedly. This was quickly rebutted in no uncertain terms by some Presbyterians via text message.

All that is just preparing you for this, my point. Willie McCrea believes that he has in his possession, a revelation from God who is God, the Creator of the Universe and that this revelation means that every single human being can now freely enjoy communion with said God for all eternity. He gets an opportunity to talk on national radio and he is asked a question about the Pope, another man who claims to also know this God and by his profession of faith and in his deeds, can be seen to have a genuine faith in the Christian God.

When faced with so simple a scenario, McCrea responds with preposterous allegations about the Pope assisting suicide 25 years ago and for good measure he throws in the irrelevant fact that a Marxist terrorist organization which ended its devastating violence 7 years ago has not yet destroyed its weaponry. Then he lies about other Christians, claiming that they are as filled with hate as he is but they don’t have the guts to admit it.

What kind of a witness to his revelation is that performance. Instead of modeling the radical generosity of spirit that Jesus demonstrated, he ranted like a Bible bashing fundie. Now I know what Bible bashing is all about. My fiancé’s Bible bashing has left me in a Men’s Shelter for Physically Abused Spouses & Partners on numerous occasions but this was a whole other level. He was putting a lot more the mentalism back into fundamentalism and not the fun. His response had not a sup of the milk of human kindness that should be the hallmark of the Christian. Living up to stereotype, he attacked others and occasionally talked in evangelical jargon about salvation and other concepts a secular nation don’t automatically understand by default anymore.

To slip into his jargon, I believe that Rev McCrea has a firm and saving faith. But he should preach the Good News of Christ instead of the political views of his Party in future. I am sure that he would accuse me and the Papists of selling cheap Grace. We are not of course, but even that is better than peddling Grace at a cost; which is adopting his worldview, his politics, his identity. Those things make for another Gospel.

I hope John Paul II can visit us. I would love to be able to tell my grandchildren that I heard one of the greatest people of the 20th Century speak and I would love to experience the ecumenical and devoted worship that no doubt will accompany his visit. If I could do that in Armagh, (which almost became the home of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages) then that would be perfect.

Your Correspondent, Asking God to pass him the mic

It Wasn’t Me That You Out-Smarted

Saturday, July 3rd, 2004

Farenheit 9/11 is coming out in Ireland next week and I no doubt will be trapped in the middle of a Michael Moore canonisation festival. I loved Michael Moore when I was a kid. I remember TV Nation. Watching it on BBC2 with my older brother used to make me feel grown up and mature and the stunts he pulled back then truly demonstrated the fact that the periphery of society consistently gets left behind.

And that is what I like about Moore. If he is for anything he is for the little guy. He is very funny and very clever and I have no doubt that he gets up and goes to work trying to make the world a better place.

Downsize This was a formative book in my adolescence. But it was formative in this sense that it led me on to better things. It got me interested in politics and justice and made me hungry enough to learn about politics and justice.

After beginning that, I couldn’t help but look back on Moore a little more suspiciously. His arguments were entertaining but they weren’t very rigourous. He could always make me smile but he never made me want to do anything, except maybe protest. Ultimately, Moore’s books and the later TV shows were always entertaining but they never proposed solutions.

So I am at the stage where I know what Moore is. He is tabloid. He is a really amusing classmate that you love to hang out with but would never consider working with on a project. He’d deliver a sloppy, error-laden, unfocused work that reads well but leaves you saying, “So what”? Maybe you might want that in a partner but you are never going to top the class because he simply isn’t rigorous enough.

The world is a cynical place. Mainstream media, especially in America, self censors and so portrays a version of the world that suits their ideological viewpoint. Basically the landscape Moore works in is one where journalists tell the story that they agree with at the expense of ideal objectibity. Moore’s landscape is the thing that he fights against, the thing that feeds his success and the thing that most closely forms his work. Ultimately, Moore is the same as Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter. He is an ideologue who tells his own story to reassure people who agree with him.

He is not interested in laying all the relevant facts out on the table for inspection. Instead he weaves a very amusing, if discordant tale out of some of the facts. His facts are his ingredients. The cake tastes good but the anti-war crowd need something meatier to make their case with. It isn’t wrong for Moore to appeal to the emotions; these are passionate subjects. It isn’t wrong for Moore to be polemical; he doesn’t pretend to be anything else. But Moore is ultimately doing the same thing as this lady, but his makeup is better and so he is more attractive, especially to European eyes.

If Michael Moore looks attractive to us, maybe we should start questioning our culture.

Read the total reviews here.
A conservative, but an anti-war conservative takes Moore’s factual errors for a visit to the harsh light of day, where you can examine them. Hopefully, reading this will show you that while Moore’s heart is in the right place, his tactics are inadmissable.

The most effective criticism of Moore has already happened and it has come from Anti-Moore himself, Christopher Hitchens. Read it here. I would much prefer to hang out with Moore than Hitchens. Moore is funny and intelligent and charming, in my eyes. To me, Hitchens is arrogant, haughty and cruel (as evidenced by his fascism claims about the Passion of the Christ) but ultimately, he is always consistent and he values objectivity, even if I don’t always agree with his conclusions.

Go read it. Its real journalism.

Your Correspondent, Got Lost In This Game

Not Too Much Hugging. A Man With An Axe Is Coming!

Thursday, July 1st, 2004

The esteemed Commander in Chief of the USA visited Ireland last weekend for an EU Summit. The night before, RTE managed to blag an interview with the most famous pretzel eater on Earth himself and they sent their Washington correspondent, Carol Coleman to find out what all the bru-ha-ha is with Al Quaeda and Hussein and democracy. But all did not go to plan. Bush the Greater didn’t teach us Irish folk a lesson in duh-mock-racey and Carol didn’t extend a hundred thousand welcomes to Dubya. In fact, they were just plain rude to each other.

Carol took the attitude that what she had heard down in the pub about US Foreign Policy was true and that GW was a bit dim. She obviously felt a need to let him know what the story was about the geopolitics and nation-building. Georgey-boy didn’t appreciate her obnoxious interview method, which was like a Jeremy Paxman with a brain that had stalled in the cold over winter and had never started again. She was appallingly childish and shallow in her questions. But Bush responded with none of that down-South charm he is alleged to have but which I have never seen. Instead he demanded to not be interrupted and seemed to repeat answers that he had learnt off by heart from some index cards Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld wrote out for him that morning. All in all, it was a bad showing from both sides. Must try harder.

But in the aftermath the talking heads had their say. (Now I diss the pundits but in all honesty, I’d love to be a pundit so I really should be a bit fairer about them expressing their own opinions). A lot of them seemed to get a sense from the interview that the President had a strong Christian faith, which they invariably described as “born again” or “fundamentalist”.

The suggestion, notably by Joan Bruton, Labour Party politician, was that the religious doctrines that Bush invests in are translated into his Foreign Policy. As I see it, this is the saddest and dumbest opinion in this soup of crazy and faulty ideas. Religion, to these commentators, is a set of doctrines that they subscribe to. It is for them, a manifesto of “morality”. It’s a great disrespect to religion and to Bush Jnr to believe that the toppling of Hussein was a direct outgrowth of his Christian faith (as well as being a total over-estimation of the power of the office of President).

Equating religion to doctrine disregards the role that religion has in the shaping of personal identity and communities, the fact that it operates as a community-building dynamic and can be seen as a social institution (particularly in terms of social justice) and as a socialisation vehicle and a method of moral formation. That is just a quick overview of the many things religion is. It is not some hard rules to guide you through ethical marshlands.

Now I have no doubt that politics sometimes parallels and mimics religion. In Bush’s speeches that portray the American people as embattled and surrounded on all sides by those who want to destroy them, he is arguing a political point in almost religious terms. I am no fan of his. At all. But it is certainly untrue to suggest that his understanding of Jesus’ teachings compelled him to invade Iraq (especially since that isn’t his decision alone!)

I am assured by those who are in the know that Bush’s professed faith is totally sincere. I would never have doubted it but some do. He is a very cynical politician but that doesn’t mean that his faith is a hollow cynical tactic. But to a European mindset, his faith is alien and scary. His unabashed evangelical jargon is equated with fundamentalism. His opinions on homosexuality relegate him to the position of a 19th Century moral troglodyte in the eyes of many. They make the leap from this unfamiliar and foreign worldview to their latent opinion that Bush’s politics must be inspired and controlled by his faith.

If this were true they would be right to fear him. The only thing worse than religion pretending to be politics (the Catholic Church’s control of contraception in Ireland for decades) is politics hiding as religion (the systematic justifications for the genocide of the “Other” that was swallowed by Christian churches in Rwanda and Serbia).

But one of the things that so obviously differentiates Clinton and Bush is Bush’s
un-nuanced sincerity. It is so unsophisticated. He doesn’t seem to grasp the shady greys like Clinton does (most notably in his technically valid declaration that he “did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinsky”). For the acting-President, everything is binary. It seems as if, for whatever happened in his past, Dubya does not like ambiguity.

He offers no ambiguously religious motivations for his Foreign Policy. He offers a lot of bogwash nonsense crap but its all secular. His religion’s doctrine does not define the man. He may be the most patronised man in the world today; everyone has a one-reason simplistic description of what drives him, but it is not purely dogma.

It seems a whole bunch of people visit this here site of mine. That is crazy. So why don’t you message me or maybe I should set up a zoomtard gmail account? You are fascinating me here!

Your Correspondent, An angry man with cheese sandwiches