Here you go. 20 minutes long. Transcript included if you prefer to read.
I love the crackle of old recordings.
Here you go. 20 minutes long. Transcript included if you prefer to read.
I love the crackle of old recordings.
He probably will, but this ESPN story is throwing a monkey wrench in the whole hilarious spectacle (warning: autoplay). I, for one, sincerely hope the trade goes through. I can just imagine Mark Sanchez throwing in the towel mid-season — “Fuck it, give the position to the Golden Boy, I don’t care.” Then Rex Ryan bets the house on Tebow, and our boy crashes and burns immediately. I will bet you $100 that Tim Tebow gets sacked TWICE in the first series he sees in his next NFL game.
Any takers? (There can only be one, and the real bet is for $10. I’m not Mitt Fucking Romney, people.)
The Jesus of the gospels was a bit of a hippie. Not totally or always (Matt 10:34-35, not so hippie-ish), but more often than not. Mike Lux over at the HuffPo put together some numbers (always a dubious game, but it has its uses). Money quote:
In fact, as I noted in my piece about Todd Akin, Jesus talks about mercy to those in trouble in 24 verses of the Gospels, tells people not to judge in 34 verses, tells people to love and forgive even their enemies in 53 verses, tells people to love their neighbors as themselves and treat others as they would want to be treated in 19 verses, and specifically tells people to help the poor and/or spurn riches and the wealthy in 128 verses.
That is a lot of verses, 258 by my count, where Rick Santorum’s savior and George W. Bush’s favorite philosopher sounds like a tried and true, solid to the core, far-out, lefty liberal. And all those where Jesus sounds like a conservative? I couldn’t find a single one. He never once condemns abortion, even though it was very common in ancient times.
That last bit really struck me. Maybe partially because I’m chin deep in the Game of Thrones books (crack, but really, really good crack), and there’s a kindof morning-after pill called “Moon Tea” that almost all of the adult female characters casually reference having taken at some point or another, and in at least one instance a character (Queen Cercei) references a more dramatic procedure she underwent when she actually did become pregnant. (The books are set in a feudal fantasy universe.)
All this is to say that I was primed, when I read the bolded sentence above, to smack myself on the forehead because OF COURSE people have been getting abortions forever, and OF COURSE forever includes 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem and surrounding areas.
What I’m saying is, dude is right, it’s pretty ridiculous that THE locus of religious political identity for what seems like the vast majority of the most politically vocal Catholics and Protestants in North America is abortion when Jesus didn’t care enough to say anything even close to explicit about it.
(For your interest, here’s the best Biblical case for abortion opposition I was able to turn up in a lazy Google search — lemme know if you find a better one. This one makes A LOT of interpretive leaps.)
It occurs to me that one might argue that Jesus didn’t talk about abortion because, as a man, he may not have known about it. I call BS on that line for two reasons: (1) He hung out with prostitutes. (2) He’s supposed to be God.
So why is abortion THE issue for so many of these folks?
In addition to Game of Thrones, I’ve been reading this book called “Faces of the Enemy” — a psychoanalytic investigation of propaganda cartoons portraying, you guessed it, the faces of whatever enemy the propaganda was out to monsterrify (<3 making up words). One motif the book identifies as almost always coming into propaganda campaigns is “enemy as baby-killer.” Everyone has used it, and they’ve used it because it works. It’s in our brain stems that babies are for protecting, and few things are harder wired (breathing, maybe).
This is exactly the rhetoric the abortion issue opens up for political Christians of a certain rightward bent — a very powerful one (not like that “love your enemy” broth Jesus kept ladling), as far as provoking emotion-driven responses in people, and action that serves your ineterest. Political people like power more than almost anything. Therefore, political Christians of a certain rightward bent love the abortion issue. Q.E.D.
(Hat-tip to TMM for posting the article on fb)
PS – Here’s a Wikipedia entry on “The History of Abortion.” Teaser:
The first recorded evidence of induced abortion, is from the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus in 1550 BCE. A Chinese record documents the number of royal concubines who had abortions in China between the years 515 and 500 BCE. According to Chinese folklore, the legendary Emperor Shennong prescribed the use of mercury to induce abortions nearly 5000 years ago. Many of the methods employed in early and primitive cultures were non-surgical. Physical activities like strenuous labor, climbing,paddling, weightlifting, or diving were a common technique. Others included the use of irritant leaves, fasting, bloodletting, pouring hot water onto the abdomen, and lying on a heated coconut shell. In primitive cultures, techniques developed through observation, adaptation of obstetrical methods, and transculturation.Archaeological discoveries indicate early surgical attempts at the extraction of a fetus; however, such methods are not believed to have been common, given the infrequency with which they are mentioned in ancient medical texts.
Interestingly, while Jesus didn’t seem to care about it, the Romans apparently did, though they didn’t see it as baby killing:
Paulus wrote in his Sentences that “those who administer a beverage for the purpose of producing abortion, or of causing affection, although they may not do so with malicious intent, still, because the act offers a bad example, shall, if of humble rank, be sent to the mines; or, if higher in degree, shall be relegated to an island, with the loss of a portion of their property. If a man or a woman should lose his or her life through such an act, the guilty party shall undergo the extreme penalty.” And also Ulpian, as it appears in the Digest regarding to the instutition of curator ventris (protector of the womb): “An unborn child is considered being born, as far as it concerns his profits”.
Suzanne Dixon, a senior lecturer in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Queensland, writes that abortion was a threat to traditional power structures in the classical Roman world. A husband had power over his wife, her body, and their children. She explains that writings from the classical world portray abortion as expressions of an ideological agenda where men maintain or reestablish patterns of power between the sexes, not as information about historical realities.:27Punishment for abortion in the Roman Republic was inflicted as a violation of the father’s right to dispose of his offspring.:3Because of the influence of Stoicism, which did not view the fetus as a person, the Romans did not punish abortion as homicide.
Do you want to know what Andrew Sullivan thinks about dropping mushrooms? Here you go.
For whatever reason, this weekend I was thinking about Jesus. Specifically, the crucifixion. I don’t know why.
Have you guys seen that episode of Louie (Louis C.K., the red haired dude from Tom’s post this morning‘s show) where he’s a kid in Catholic school? [Spoilers coming up].
The scene is set in a classroom in which little-kid Louie’s nun/teacher had apparentlyscrawled JESUS WAS NAILED TO A CROSS! (for example) before class on all the chalkboards like Charles Manson might scrawl Helter Skelter in blood. At some point, little-kid Louie makes a joke that disrespects Jesus somehow (I can’t remember) and the nun bows her head and says something like “I see…. I… have not… done… my job.”
When it comes back the class is in the church and this gaunt old doctor out of a nightmare played by Tom Noonan dressed in black comes in and walks them all, step by step, through Jesus’ torture using words like “subcutaneous tissues,” “arterial squirts” which he articulates in this really soft and weirdly tender voice and then snaps a cat of nine tails against the pew so suddenly and loudly that everyone (me as viewer included) jumps, and completely traumatizes everyone in the class.
That night, Louie has a breakdown and runs hysterically to the church and pulls the statue of Jesus off of the cross and cries over him and says again and again how he’s sorry.
The next day, Louie’s mom admits to him that she doesn’t have religion and that she thought what they were teaching him at school was ridiculous, but that that didn’t mean that he didn’t have to try his hardest to be good. (Sidebar: I think his mom in this episode is played by the same actress who portrays a girlfriend to his adult self in an earlier one.) Anyway, she just says that Jesus was this guy who said people should be good to each other and, wryly, that he got his for that. It’s a really really really good half hour of television. And I’m with her. But, I also do think that there’s something in the crucifixion story that calls out for more than a wry shrugging off.
There’s a pretty popular reading (among the Mel Gibsons of the world) that understands Jesus’ suffering as a consequence of his deciding to magically take on all of the sins in the world (understood abstractly as things you can gather in a bag or something and dump into your Jesus who’s some kind of huge cannister), and then God deciding to rain wrath on him like God likes to do to people he thinks are shitty (cause that’s how he gets off or something). But, since Jesus is the embodiment at that point of all of the badness of all the bad people combined (because sins are like numbers that can be summed up like your tax deductions), you need to be all “HE SUFFERED MORE THAN ANYONE IN THE UNIVERSE COULD POSSIBLY SUFFER IN A MILLION YEARS EVAR YOU COULD NEVER UNDERSTAND SO BOW DOWN IN TERROR AND VOTE REPUBLICAN!!1!one”
I hate this reading. For one, there’s something gross about obsessing over God’s sadistic shit. For two, it abstracts away from the most credible content of the story: What sin, in reality, IS: not something abstract and quantifiable that you gather up in a bag and dump into Jesus, the sin Jesus died from (and for) was (is) the sin of human cruelty, made real through the act of torturing and killing, for no good reason, a God willing to just suffer it. It abstracts from the consequences of sin — his suffering and death, and yes, his suffering was probably about the maximum that a human being can suffer, but the point isn’t that it was incomprehensively superhuman or anything. His suffering was human suffering. The point is that we can imagine it.
What’s potent about this to me is that both his torturers’ actions and his suffering were human, like me, despite Jesus’ status as God. Acting as if his torture was God acting through man to express his divine wrath is, I think, to actually let man off the hook and, I also think, badly miss the point.
As I read it, the crucifixion is about humanity’s total moral agency — our capacity to choose to do evil even to god who will forsake himself to it before infringing on our freedom to act in the world, bearing the consequences of our capacity for evil on his own body and confronting us with the scars that we have the capacity to inflict, the horror of our own capacity for brutality. In doing this, he’s calling us out to be responsible for ourselves; to judge ourselves in light of what we ourselves can (if we try) recognize as right and wrong.
That’s how it has meaning to me.