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Monthly Archives: June 2008
“The Future Has Been Shown to Me to the Year 2037”: Jeane Dixon and the Marketing of Miracle, Mystery, and Authority
This is the back cover of a 1973 book by Jeane Dixon, a self-proclaimed psychic, prophet, and astrologer who died in 1997. When her popularity was at its height in the 1960s and 70s, her books sold in the millions … Continue reading
This past week, New York Times columnist, Maureen Dowd, had a wonderful profile of Carla Bruni, the wife of French President Sarkozy. Money quote: The French are different from you and me. Yes, they have Sarkozy. And they have Carla. … Continue reading
In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Enkidu is a hairy Dionysian wild man whose power, and ability to instill terror in lesser mortals, is equal to that of his civilized Apollonian opposite, Gilgamesh. At least that’s how his story starts. In Book … Continue reading
Ten Good Reasons to Think Gay Marriage Will Survive in California–and Three Reasons to Think It Won’t
Ten pretty good reasons to think that gay marriage will survive in California: Though the anti-gay marriage amendment to the California Constitution will be on the ballot in November, conservatives are divided about it. Economic conservatives and libertarians are generally in … Continue reading
Dorian Davis, a contributing writer to Business Week and the New York Daily News, claims that James Dobson, in one of his books, compared gay marriage to Pearl Harbor. Here’s Davis’s quote: James Dobson, in his 2004 book Marriage Under … Continue reading
In the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh there are two chief characters: Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Both are male, and it is striking that ancient Mesopotamian culture hit upon the same overriding tensions between these two characters as those that Friedrich Nietzsche, in his … Continue reading
The British actor Peter Ustinov, who died in 2004, made this rather astute observation: Beliefs are what divide people. Doubt unites them. The quote is taken from Jack Huberman’s The Quotable Atheist, p.306. The way I read the quote is that … Continue reading
The following essay, titled “Your Brain Lies to You,” by Sam Wang and Sandra Aamodt, appeared in the New York Times on June 27, 2008: FALSE beliefs are everywhere. Eighteen percent of Americans think the sun revolves around the earth, one … Continue reading
A brown robed friar among mission flowers. A child spins before him. Sun-gleaming, dizzying the motion. Will the heavens never stop in their orbits and explosions?
I thought that with the two “Kill Bill” films, Quentin Tarantino had lost his way as a filmmaker. “Death Proof,” for me, is his comeback film. It’s an enduring, “Jackie Brown” quality piece, with a great feminist subtext (though if … Continue reading
No Matter What You Do, Cosmo, You’re Still Going to Die: Gilgamesh as a Superman, But Not Quite a God
Two-thirds they made him god and one third man, is how the Mesopotamian Gilgamesh Epic describes Gilgamesh in its prologue. Like its sister texts, the Mesopotamian creation myth the Enuma Elish, in which the gods also fashion human beings after their image, … Continue reading
Dickinson family’s Amherst homestead. Emily’s bedroom was on the second story. Here’s one of her poems: I felt a Cleaving in my Mind– As if my Brain had split– I tried to match it–Seem by Seem– But could not make them … Continue reading
Gay Marriage Terror Alert: California Pastor Says Gay Marriage Portends “the Dismantling of Western Civilization”
Conservative clergy members throughout California appear to be attempting to mount a formidable organizational pushback against gay marriage in California, and turning the rhetorical volume up to HIGH. Gay marriage represents “the dismantling of Western Civilization,” my local paper, the Antelope Valley … Continue reading
The French novelist of The Plague, in his The Myth of Sisyphus, wrote: There is only one religion that exists throughout all history, the belief in eternity. This belief is a deception.
Escher’s Ants on a Mobius Strip: Blake’s Moving Image of Eternity, Kafka’s prison, or Dostoevsky’s Spider?
The number “8,” placed upon its side, is the symbol for infinity (as perhaps many of us remember from the Schoolhouse Rock song). And if we think of the Schoolhouse Rock video that accompanies the song, in which a young girl, as day rolls … Continue reading
The Epic of Gilgamesh opens with this sentence: I will proclaim to the world the deeds of Gilgamesh. I hear in this opening an evangelical purpose, as when the gospel of Mark begins with, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus … Continue reading
In an oral culture you are with others in groups, and you hear living voices, and you are frequently out of doors and engaged with the world. In a literate culture you value withdrawal from groups and withdrawal from voices, and are indoors a … Continue reading
After the invasion of Iraq in April 2003, George Bush’s Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, provided a free-will defense for the rampant street looting in Iraq. Why was it occurring, and why wasn’t the United States actively engaged in stopping it? Here’s Rumsfeld’s answer: Freedom’s … Continue reading
Calling the California high court’s decision justified, the Orange County Register, probably the state’s largest conservative newspaper, in its lead editorial on Sunday (June 22,2008), succinctly and articulately endorsed gay marriage. Money quote: Our preference would be for the government not to be … Continue reading