Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Quote of the Day

"All you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right kind of people" - Eugene Pallette as Alexander Bullock, in My Man Godfrey (1936).

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Neverending Godfomercial, Part n.

Definition of terms:

(From Wikipedia)

Advertising is the commercial promotion of goods, services, companies and ideas, usually performed by an identified sponsor, and performed through a variety of media. Marketers see advertising as part of an overall promotional strategy. Other components of the promotional mix include publicity, public

Infomercials are television commercials that run as long as a typical television program. Infomercials are normally shown outside of peak hours, such as late at night or early in the morning. As in any other form of advertisement, the content is a commercial message designed to represent the viewpoints and to serve the interest of the sponsor. Infomercials are often made to closely resemble actual television programming, usually talk shows, with minimal acknowledgement that the program is actually an advertisement.
Infomercials are designed to solicit a direct response which is specific and quantifiable and are, therefore, a form of direct response marketing (not to be confused with direct marketing). The ad response is delivered directly to television viewers by infomercial advertisers through the television ad. In normal commercials, advertisers do not solicit a direct response from viewers, but, instead, brand their product in the market place amongst potential buyers.
Infomercial advertisers may make use of flashy catchphrases (such as "Set it and Forget it"), repeat basic ideas, and/or employ scientist-like characters or celebrities as guests or hosts in their ad. Because of the sometimes sensational nature of the ad form, consumer advocates recommend careful investigation of the claims made within any infomercial ad and investigation of the company sponsoring the subject product of the infomercial before purchasing the featured product or products. Infomercials are for the largest part shown late night to early morning between 2:00am and 6:00am.


Godfomercials are any materials (books, plays, movies, TV shows, video games, etc.) promoting the underlying tenets of religious belief. These include, but are not limited to: supernatural beings, life after death, non-corporeal intelligences, an overweening metaphysical “battle” between forces of “Good” and “Evil”, “proper” behaviors being “rewarded” with “luck” or good fortune, judgment post-mortem, “angels” and “demons” or other mythical beings interfering with daily life, possession by evil spirits, and zombies and other living dead things, and dead persons and pets coming back to life. Basically anything that falls into the category of Superstitious Fiction.

The Sunday Sermon, TV Evangelism, Mandatory prayer at specific times, and New Age Medicine Shows also qualify as Godfomercials. Basically, any presentation of superstitious material that is designed to put the listener into a near-hypnagogic state, and then reinforce through repetition those ideas being promoted until the instruction bypasses the listener’s natural skepticism or discrimination.

The Neverending Godfomercial is the constant barrage of superstitious, religious, and pseudo-religious themes in movies, on television, and in print. I believe that this bombardment actually creates demand for like product, like the saturation advertising of Coca-Cola creates demand for that product. This creates a self-feeding system that promotes itself. The large number of Freddie Krueger and Jason sequels in contrast to the usual two sequels spawned by most movie genres supports this theory.

The visual and anecdotal validation of the “existence” of supernatural demons “validates” the belief in the existence of life after death, and the concepts of Heaven and Hell. I’ll explore how this happens in my next post.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Quick and Dirty II

I am working on a post about the thing I call the Neverending Godomercial. I have a couple of other projects going right now, and I find I am spread so thin that I am not finding time to rip down my first attempt and start over. While researching symptoms of denial for this project, two things happened. First, my computer was taken over by something calling itself “Drive Cleaner” that would not take “NO!” for an answer when it offered to install itself. I caught this bug when I went to a web site that purported to be about denial of sexual abuse. Second, I noticed that something was missing from the descriptions of denial. In my experience, a person in denial works very hard to maintain and defend whatever illusion takes the place of reality in that person’s mind. I was looking for support for this observation, and so far, I’ve found no reference to it at all. Correct me if I’m wrong: a person in denial has to have some kind of substitute reality. If this delusion is not addressed, is it like the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about? Or, is it just some weird oversight, perhaps one that is minimized because the psychological focus is elsewhere?

In any event, I think that the incessant “selling” of religion, and the endless repackaging of the idea of Fairyland-in-the-Sky, or life after death, is a symptom of the desperate need to believe that death is not the end. The feverish volume of conjectural bullshit stated as “Truth”, tends to make me think so. Even when some of this material does not claim to be true, it is often stated in a matter-of-fact way, and left up to the discretion (or lack thereof) of the reader to classify it as fiction. Then there’s the zeal that exposes the need to believe, despite the lack of material argument. For example, Jesus, by Lauryn Hill.

Is it me, or is that insanely desperate and whacked in the head?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Movie Time!

Snakes on a Plane Samuel L. Jackson stars as an FBI agent transporting a witness when hundreds of deadly snakes are released on their plane.

I probably shouldn’t rip on this, especially not sight unseen. It doesn’t appear to involve any imaginary beings, or magic charms and incantations, or un-killable bogymen back from the dead. Still, is this a joke? I mean, why would somebody spend so much money to make a tribute to what is arguably the worst disaster movie ever made, Fer De Lance?

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Shell Game, or "Head for the Basement Dorothy!"

SH recently posted A response to a “friend” on My Free Thoughts. The post was a response to an accusation of anti-Semitism leveled because of posts that were critical of Israel’s .... um ... foreign policy. In the post, SH quotes these lines from the accusing comment:

“Life is not fair. I think there are things you would do to protect those YOU love, that would be against many of our principles.... Israel need to fight back to survive.”

I thought about this, and commented:

A fuckwit starts shooting out the window of his apartment building, across the border into Israel. In a civilized country like France or Germany, the local police would respond and shut the fuckwit down. In the West Bank, other fuckwits start dancing in the street and cheering fuckwit #1 on. The Israelis respond by firing a missile at the apartment building, blowing up people that are not shooting guns along with fuckwit #1. Who is right? Nobody. Both governments are to blame because this is uncivilized, and no one is keeping the peace or really doing any kind of job protecting their citizens. Next week, the pissed off brother of one of the innocent victims picks up a gun, gets an earfull of hate from whatever source, and so it goes.

Bonus question: Was above pissed-off-brother Arab, Israeli, Christian, Jew, Muslim, or just some poor slob that got sucked in by a jabbering hate monger?

SH responded:


I agree that it's almost like this but with the addition that the "fuckwit" you describe whom starts shooting "first", might not be simply an idiot or someone who has nothing better to do. It might be someone who was driven to a state of desperation by the conditions imposed on him by others. I don't think that most people who take up arms do it because they are bored and are looking for adventures. I think a lot of times they have legitimate, at least in their eyes, grievances that they think they will get corrected in such a violent manner. I think it is a mistake to see people like that as simply crazy. I strongly believe that majority of the people in the world would prefer quiet and peaceful life to any kind of war and conflict. Unfortunately, and for various reasons, they have some very strange and often very misguided ideas on how to get to that peaceful world they desire.

I read that, and my brain started firing like a pinball machine. I literally had one of those “Where do I start?” moments. First, a point of clarification. A “fuckwit” in my lexicon, is a person who is addled in their thinking as a result of external forces. Their head has been messed with in some way. This could be the result of indoctrination into an exclusionist ideology, through propaganda, or through operant conditioning. They might have had their heads filled with hate by words, or by being backed into a corner until the feral defenses kick in, turning them into a suicidal maniac. Such a person has been fucked in the head, and is fucked in the head. A far cry from a nitwit; I did not mean to imply that my hypothetical shooter was simple-minded.

I’m glad to see that SH puts the word “first” in quotes. I did not mean to imply that this shooter started anything either. He is, in the scenario above, nearing his personal end in a long chain of causality that will continue ad nauseum long after he is atomized and forgotten. And now we come two phrases that I would like to look at a little more closely:

“It might be someone who was driven to a state of desperation by the conditions imposed on him by others.”, and “I think a lot of times they have legitimate, at least in their eyes, grievances that they think they will get corrected in such a violent manner.”

I know first hand that a person can feel that their back is against the wall, and lash out in frustration and anger. I know humiliation. I know there are many self-destructive roads one can take when the point of all caring has been passed, or anger overwhelms the mind’s ability to reason. Perhaps I don’t know, or can’t imagine, the depths of humiliation and frustration experienced by a proud grown man who is treated like a prisoner day after day as he crosses the border to go to work. Still, what makes my shooter different from his neighbor who suffers under the same offensive treatment? I think there is a third party that has been nurturing the victim mentality or the siege mentality in my shooter. A cowardly little bastard that winds up others to do his dirty work. Someone who has a way with words. Someone who paints endless pictures of how perfect EVERYTHING would be if it weren’t for those stinking OTHER PEOPLE.

Let’s call this third party "The Agitator" to strip off any religious or political affiliations. The profile of an agitator is, that he is someone in authority who will use any means at his disposal to promote his agenda. He usually has some kind of fertile ground in which to start a meme or memes on a path of seemingly endless reiteration. He will use slogans, catch phrases, scriptures, or quote legal precedent to bolster his authority. Warning: The agitator’s agenda might not be what it appears to be. In the specific case of the Islamic gone Postal above, our Agitator(s) had a few more weapons in their arsenal. They were able to convince my shooter that his life here on Earth could be nothing more than endless crap, and they convinced him his reward awaits in Candyland-In-The-Sky.

Make no mistake, my shooter is a victim. He is the victim of aggressive and conflicting ideologies. He is also his own victim, for accepting the role of victim that was offered to him. He is the victim of organized crime, and the organized greed that supplied the weapons. He is not, however, the victim of the other victims he is shooting at.

So what is the real objective here? Did the political movement that set this shooter on the course of self-destruction expect that his efforts, and the efforts of those like him would cause the enemy to retreat? Or, did they expect the exact outcome that recent events have brought us; reprisals. The Israeli Government’s response to attacks like this is predictable. The objective is to cause international outrage as the Israeli army cuts a swath through any civilians that get in their way. The strategy includes civilian casualties as a means to an end, “sacrificing” lives that in no way volunteered or supported the movement. More victims. Too bad they never got a chance to fully enjoy their role as victims, or perhaps they were lucky?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Mel Gibson: Not relevant.
War in the Middle East: Too relevant.

Mel: A joke.
War: The exact opposite of a joke.

Mel: Will do the Contrition Dance and mend his ruined reputation.
Lebanon: Will be ruined for years to come.

Mel: Another celebrity asshole that the media tells us we should care about.
War: A cataclismic event that the media will gloss over and then lose interest in.

Mel: We don't need this kind of misdirection.
War: We don't need this kind of destruction. There are enough natural disasters to fight against without making the artificial kind. My heart breaks for all the people who have been caught in the middle. People who just wanted to go to work and raise a family.