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June 05, 2012

Why is Hades considered a villain so often in popular culture when he isn't villainous in the myths?

Benito Cereno does his exploring-the-myths thing that I dig so much. Here he is expounding on the meaning of Hades as a character and how he has been corrupted by conflating him with the mythical Satan. BURGEONING LADS OF SCIENCE | Mythursday Mythuesday: A-ing More Qs Let’s do...
So why is Hades a villain so often in modern portrayals of Greek mythology? Because people are scared of death, I suppose. And I’m sure it doesn’t help that Christians got him all mixed up with Satan in their minds, all thinkin Hades and Hell are synonymous. But death is not even the main source of villainy in ancient mythology. The most common antagonists—monsters, giants, Titans—are villains because they represent a pre-Greek barbarism that it is the duty of the civilized Olympian gods and their offspring to tame. Other villain-defining traits are hubristic acts such as setting yourself equal to or better than a god, or overstepping your social bounds. You could interpret Hera’s jealousy this way: she thinks she knows better than he does, and so she acts against Zeus’s wishes time and again (obviously this is super problematic to modern eyes). But, yes, Hera is the villain WAY more than Hades. She’s the evil queen in the stories of Heracles, Aeneas, Io, Echo, and probably dozens more. This hubris is also the downfall of characters such as Pentheus, Salmoneus, Niobe, Arachne, and some of the most famous tenants of the Underworld, Sisyphus and Tantalus. The other big no-no is the breach of xenia, the code of hospitality that was one of the central tenets of Greek society. Be a good host; be a good guest; this is the most important thing. The entire Trojan War was fought because Paris was a shitty guest (ETIQUETTE TIP: Do not steal your host’s wife). Ixion was a shitty guest and he famously burns in the Underworld for his rape-based faux pas. All of these things would be considered way worse than being a glum dude who looks at skeletons all day.

June 02, 2012

46% of Americans think the entire universe is less than 10,000 years old

I don't even have words strong enough to condemn this ignorance. Joe. My. God.: GALLUP POLL: 46% Of Americans Are Young Earth Creationists
Forty-six percent of Americans believe in the creationist view that God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years. The prevalence of this creationist view of the origin of humans is essentially unchanged from 30 years ago, when Gallup first asked the question. About a third of Americans believe that humans evolved, but with God's guidance; 15% say humans evolved, but that God had no part in the process.

did you know that Pennsylvania and five other states banned atheists from holding public office?

Fred Clark, the slacktivist, has more to say about this. The Pennsylvania constitution is not constitutional
Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Article 1: Declaration of Rights Religion, Section 4. No person who acknowledges the being of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this Commonwealth.

May 31, 2012

Catholic Cardinal Dolan offered rapist priests $20K to leave the church

They paid off the rapists but did nothing for the victims. Nor did they report the rapists to the cops. Catholic Cardinal Authorized $20K To Pay Off Pedophile Priests, Then Railed Against 'Immorality' Of Gay Marriage | ThinkProgress
But church documents showing that Dolan paid off priests who had been accused of sexually abusing minors suggest that the prominent Catholic leader was willing to overlook these very same religious convictions to help colleagues accused of egregious wrong doing. The documents, obtained by the New York Times, also show that Dolan lied to reporters when he initially dismissed news of the payments as “false, preposterous and unjust”: Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York authorized payments of as much as $20,000 to sexually abusive priests as an incentive for them to agree to dismissal from the priesthood when he was the archbishop of Milwaukee. [...] But a document unearthed during bankruptcy proceedings for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and made public by victims’ advocates reveals that the archdiocese did make such payments to multiple accused priests to encourage them to seek dismissal, thereby allowing the church to remove them from the payroll. Dolan had described at least one payment to Franklyn Becker — who had been accused of abusing 10 minors — as “an act of charity” to help the priest “pay for health insurance.” This comes to light as Dolan and the Church are expanding their campaign against a government regulation that would increase health insurance coverage of contraception for women.