Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog
Wednesday 2 August 2006

Two related stories about religious fundamentalists appeared in the news this week.

First, it turns out that Mel Gibson really is an anti-Semitic religious nut who believes millions of witnesses somehow hoodwinked the world about millions of murders. I, for one, find this shocking. Gibson has shown nothing but sensitivity and a desire for accuracy in his historical films, give or take an ancient dialect, and he has gone to great lengths to distance himself from his nutter father, so it really must have been the booze talking over the weekend.

Sometimes the booze talks through me, too. So I understand. One time, the booze not only talked through me, it talked to a really gorgeous young lady whose booze had nothing to say in return. Though I don't remember what the booze said, I'm pretty sure it had something to do with a hypothetical plan for the evening with the gorgeous young lady but, instead of talking, her booze wound up in my face. So yes, booze says bad things. Or, at least, ill-advised things, because if I'm not mistaken, my hypothetical plans for the evening with said gorgeous young lady did, in fact, reflect my deeply-held convictions at the time; I just didn't phrase them appropriately. Or, more to the point, I didn't keep them to myself, which may have saved me a few bucks in dry-cleaning the next day.

In other words, booze may talk, but it doesn't have any ideas of its own, so it borrows them from the boozer. I believe people who spoke Aramaic for real knew this, too. No, I think we've learned in the thousands years of experience with booze that when booze talks, it's really you talking, no matter how offensive it sounds.

Like many successful religious nutters, Gibson probably also believes that his religion has gotten him where he is today. Being a fundamentalist crackpot takes a certain willfulness, a certain élan, a certain myopia, that tends to self-reinforcement. Once you believe that things happen directly because God makes them happen, you start to believe that God sanctions your fundamentalist crackpottery. You start to believe that you won an Oscar for Braveheart because God loves you, rather than that it grossed more than Babe and Tom Hanks. You start to believe that God directed the steps of all the other religious nutters who made Passion of the Christ such a bonanza for the studio, rather than realizing you're in a fundamentalist echo chamber.

In short, you start to believe people support your religious ideas, rather than people simply put up with your religious ideas because you're making them rich. It's just business.

Kind of like in Kansas. An apparent fundamentalist nutter there got un-elected from the school board, meaning children in Kansas may soon resume learning something about science as scientists actually see it. But whatever Brad Patzer's true beliefs, I'm under the impression that the anti-evolution Republicans on the Kansas school board were actually there to distract attention from the other, quite sober Republicans in the Kansas legislature who have systematically ground Kansas into poverty in the name of free enterprise. For that story, I recommend What's the Matter with Kansas.

So, this week, our fundamentalist kooks suffered some setbacks, but don't worry. There are plenty of them to go around.

Wednesday 2 August 2006 09:49:54 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Politics#
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David Braverman is the Chief Technology Officer of Holden International in Chicago, and the creator of Weather Now. Parker is the most adorable dog on the planet, 80% of the time.
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