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May 28, 2010

Overthinking Lost's awful idea of an afterlife

Overthinking Lost: The End. | Overthinking It
So, why doesn’t Lost allow us to mourn John Locke’s tragic, epic f***-up of a life? Because, according to Lost, it doesn’t matter that Locke screwed up. It doesn’t matter that Locke’s actions got himself and many others killed. Ultimately, actions on Earth don’t matter. All that matters is faith and that happy white light and true love and puppies and babies. In short, Lost presents us with the nicey-nice wish-fulfillment parts of a bunch of different religions and ignores a major fact of life for non-scripted human beings: that, in real life, whatever happened, happened. Actions have consequences. Dead is dead. I’m not a big fan of the Christian conceptions of heaven and hell, but at least they somewhat focus on the consequences of your actions. If you do wrong, you suffer in hell for eternity. If you’re good and faithful, you get to chill with Jesus for eternity. I don’t believe it, but at least it allows for some kind of real-world morality. The new pseudo-multicultural religion Lost’s finale provides is particularly crazy, because it not only allows for death-bed conversions; it allows for POST-death-bed conversions. (At least, it does for everyone except Michael. Don’t ask me why he’s the only one who doesn’t get a second chance in Sideways Limbo.) Of what use is a finale like this, when it doesn’t mirror anything we actually experience in real life? Do we just want a happy ending because we like these characters? Yet, in most art, as in life, simply being likable does not necessary earn you a happy ending. Or is it that we enjoy the theme of “even sinners get second chances”? I would be fine with that theme if it seemed like most of the Losties actually made good use of their second chances and earned their way into Heaven by doing good deeds. But most of them didn’t. Only Jack, Sayid, Desmond, Michael (!), Charlie and, arguably, Sawyer (when he jumped out of the helicopter) sacrificed themselves for the greater good. I’ll let Hurley come to my version of Heaven, too, because he was always a good person. The rest of them? I’m not sure if they’ll be allowed past my pearly gates.

Italian priests' secret mistresses ask pope to scrap celibacy rule

Italian priests' secret mistresses ask pope to scrap celibacy rule | World news | The Guardian
Dozens of Italian women who have had relationships with Roman Catholic priests or lay monks have endorsed an open letter to the pope that calls for the abolition of the celibacy rule. The letter, thought by one signatory to be unprecedented, argues that a priest "needs to live with his fellow human beings, experience feelings, love and be loved". It also pleads for understanding of those who "live out in secrecy those few moments the priest manages to grant [us] and experience on a daily basis the doubts, fears and insecurities of our men". The issue was put back on the Vatican's agenda in March when one of Pope Benedict's senior advisers, Cardinal Christoph Sch�nborn, the archbishop of Vienna, said the abolition of the celibacy rule might curb sex abuse by priests, a suggestion he hastily withdrew after Benedict spoke up for "the principle of holy celibacy". The authors of the letter said they decided to come into the open after hearing his retort, which they said was an affirmation of "the holiness of something that is not holy" but a man-made rule. There are many instances of married priests in the early centuries of Christianity. Today, priests who follow the eastern Catholic rites can be married, as can those who married before converting to Roman Catholicism from Anglicanism.

May 24, 2010

Texas State Board of Education opens textbook debate with prayer

Texas State Board of Education opens debate with a prayer

May 20, 2010

France imposes fine for Islamic face scarves

Breaking News: France imposes a fine on full-face Islamic veils in public - Feministing
Yesterday, the French government decided to impose a $185 fine on women who wear a full-face Islamic veil in public. According to the Washington Post: President Nicolas Sarkozy said his government was forwarding the legislation to parliament because it had a "moral responsibility" to uphold traditional European values in the face of an increasingly visible Muslim population, estimated at more than 5 million, the largest in Western Europe. He called the course chosen by his government "demanding" but "just," and he said the law was not intended to stigmatize Muslims. Not intended to stigmatize? Tell that to one of only 2,000 women in a country of 64 million inhabitants who don the burqa, as it's called in Afghanistan, or the niqab, as it's called in North Africa. Tell that to the woman who, a year from now, when the law goes into effect, suffers this series of potential indignities: It would give police the right to demand that women lift their veils to identify themselves. If they refused, police could hold them for up to four hours for an identity check. If cited for wearing the veil, women would be referred to a prosecutor, who could fine them, force them to attend "citizenship classes" or both.

Everything is Terrible: The Mark of the Beast

Mark of the Beast from Everything Is Terrible! on Vimeo.