Good Christian, good Muslim, good person?

What makes a good Christian or Muslim or Jew?
What makes a good Xtian/Muslim/Jew?

In day-to-day conversations, both virtual and face-to-face, I frequently hear people refer to the concept of the “good Christian” or “good Jew” or “good Muslim” or whathaveyou. They are usually referring to themselves and the person with whom they are speaking. Sometimes they use terms like “christlike” or “godly” or some variant of those. And it always bothers me when people talk like this.

It bothers me because these terms mean so many different things to different people. They are amorphous. They can mean anything and, throughout history, often have. When one makes reference to the “good Christian”, what they are really referring to is a shared idea peculiar to a certain group of people in a certain place at a certain point in time with similar experiences, similar religious beliefs, similar political leanings, etc. Continue reading Good Christian, good Muslim, good person?

Body-for-LIFE: the original 10 champions (Where are they now?)

The original 10 Body-for-LIFE champions with Bill Phillips
The original 10 Body-for-LIFE champions with Bill Phillips

I tried to do the Body-for-LIFE challenge when I was eighteen. I lasted about a month before I went back to binging on beer and pizza. Tried it again a couple times in my twenties with the same result. Each time, I stuck with the program for less than a month.

It’s a strict program. If you go to websites that grade diets and health programs, it is usually near the bottom–mainly because it is so demanding that only a fraction of the people who start actually make it the full three months. Well, I recently decided to do the program one last time. If I fuck it up this time, I guess I’ll just resign myself to being a fat POS forever. Wish me luck.

Anyway, for now, at the start of the program, I’m reading Bill Phillips’ book, watching some of the videos he made, even leafing through some of my old issues of Muscle Media. My favorite of these is the video that documented the very first Body-for-LIFE challenge: Body of Work. It takes you into the lives of the 10 winners of that challenge. And their stories are very inspiring. But, as I wander down EAS memory lain, I keep wondering: Where are they now?

Well, I decided to find out. Continue reading Body-for-LIFE: the original 10 champions (Where are they now?)

Socrates & Daedalus in the Platonic dialogues

Daedalus with Icarus
Daedalus fashioning wings for himself and his son, Íkaros, so they might escape the Labyrinth Daedalus had constructed

In Book VII of Plato’s Politeia, at 540c, Glaucon declares that, with his words, Socrates’ has “made the rulers consummately beautiful (καλόν) men…just like a sculptor.” Earlier in Book VII, at 529e, Socrates refers to the works of Dædalus as worthy of study. As stated in footnote 135 of Sachs’ translation of the Republic, Plato mentions Daedalus (Δαίδαλος) several times in his dialogues: at 97d in Meno and at 11c in Euthyphro. In Texts on Socrates, West also identifies 121a of Alcibiades I (p.55, n.33). In reading these various texts*, I noticed recurring references to Daedalus, and it made me wonder: Are these references random or do they form a logical pattern of some sort?

Continue reading Socrates & Daedalus in the Platonic dialogues

Religious spam: Yes, religion is bullshit, and its purveyors are assholes

I like to write about religion. I like to read about religion. I even sometimes enjoy conversing with religious folk. But I am not religious. Religion is bullshit and its purveyors often unabashed assholes.

Religious spam is a case in point. As the administrator of a blog, I get a lot of spam. I even get spam from spammers offering to spam for me. Every day, I delete countless robo messages. Some of them consist of complete sentences hawking this or that product. Most are just random broken phrases stuck together and surrounded by links to who-knows-what website. I’ve come to expect this daily deluge. But here’s something I didn’t expect: religious spam. Continue reading Religious spam: Yes, religion is bullshit, and its purveyors are assholes

The Show Show: The Satanic Perspective

Several years ago, a friend and I came up with the idea for a show called The Show Show. The idea was to create a fictional talk show about other nonexistent shows. Whether the idea was meta or stupid doesn’t much matter since it never got off the ground. But I did write one script for a skit for the first episode. In it, the host interviews a self-proclaimed Satanic priest who wants to develop a TV show to broadcast his beliefs to the unwashed masses.

The Satanic Perspective: S1E1

Continue reading The Show Show: The Satanic Perspective

The American Revolution in 7 languages – a wiki study

For a long time, I’ve wanted to do a project where I collect world history books from various nations and compare their portrayal of the same events. Unfortunately, I don’t really have access to history books from around the globe; and, even if i did, I wouldn’t be able to translate them. So, for now, I’m settling for doing what I’m calling a wiki study: I’m comparing the intro section of a Wikipedia article as it appears in several languages. For my first foray into wikistudies, I’ve chosen the American Revolution. Enjoy.
Continue reading The American Revolution in 7 languages – a wiki study

Gender socialization, resocialization & multiplicity

Borghese Hermaphroditus
Borghese Hermaphroditus

Sex and gender seem inextricably married for most people. Many do not even know the difference between the two. This paper will explore those differences, the problems that arise when one comes into conflict with the other and possible solutions for those who face such problems. First there is a brief overview of some of the more prominent scientific approaches to sex and gender studies, next is an enumeration of some of the more common variant genders, then an analysis of the process of re-socialization for the individual whose gender identity conflicts with their designated sex, and finally we will conclude with three hypothetical and hopefully positive outcomes for the transgender community as a whole.

Continue reading Gender socialization, resocialization & multiplicity

Oppositional narrative, myth-shaping and ideological idiopathy

Definitions

Idiopathy is generally a medical term, but its usage here harkens back to its Greek roots. “Idio-” is from the Greek ídios (ἴδιος), meaning something private or entirely one’s own. “-Pathy” is from the Greek pátheia (πάθεια) meaning “feeling” or “suffering” which in turn derives from pathos (πάθος), meaning a condition or state (generally of suffering). Continue reading Oppositional narrative, myth-shaping and ideological idiopathy

The semiotics of abortion

Abortion has been a bitterly contentious subject for decades if not millennia. The recently concocted controversy re Planned Parenthood’s practice of selling harvested fetal tissue to medical researchers has brought the subject front and center once more. And, while I’m not particularly interested in the current hokum, I would like to share my thoughts on why this debate has never gone anywhere.
Continue reading The semiotics of abortion