Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 26, 2005

Billmon: The Passion of Terri

"But it definitely fascinates me, much as the charismatic rituals of the evangelical churches -- talking in tongues, faith healing, snake handling -- have always fascinated me. These are symptoms of mental states I've personally never been able to attain without the use of powerful psychedelic drugs, and I've always been a little jealous of people who can get there for free, every Sunday, simply through the power of group suggestion."
...
"..the emotional intensity of the event -- and the depth of the self-righteous hatred it has stirred on the religious right -- will be hard to forget. It feels like we've passed another milestone in the descent of our deeply divided, culturally inflamed society towards . . . well, I'd rather not think about what."

The Passion of Terri

Posted by b on March 26, 2005 at 11:17 UTC | Permalink

Comments

"symptoms of mental states I've personally never been able to attain without the use of powerful psychedelic drugs"

I've been under the influence and never experienced any of these 'symptoms'. "Talking in tongues", no. Verbally diarhetic gibberish, redundantly.

But then, being atheist and not prone to religiosity, I'm not surprised I didn't. Apparently there is an area in the brain, left frontal I think, for religion. Oh, and this area of my brain is broken and I'm capable only of intolerance, due to my atheism. I'm such a bastard.

I haven't been following this poor woman's saga too closely in the MSM and have only read a few things online lately. One of these articles compared what is happening in FLA to similar undertakings by religious fundies in some islamic country. Anyone can get the church and government involved in someone's personal life over a religious or moral issue.

In FLA, the parents do not like the decision reached by their daughter and her husband. A decision, BTW, that is entirely none of the parents business (unless they have proof the husband is conniving all this). Call in the courts, church, gov't and media.

In the ME, a brother didn't like something his sister-in-law did and called in the courts, church, gov't and media to force his brother to divorce the heretic.

To me, these examples are identical in they are driven by the hatred of someone having thoughts unlike your own while using religious morality as the beard.

For something that is supposed to emanate love, religion sure generates a lot of hate.

And atheists are 'broken' ;)

Posted by: gmac | Mar 26 2005 13:18 utc | 1

Interesting post, Billmon.

To me, the Terri Schiavo fracas reminds me of only one thing: when "the end" is an absolute (and religions are man's way of dealing with absolutes - death, absence, immortality), every mean can be justified.

I don't agree with your assessment that Christianity was basically a good thing for the West; I'll be rude and bring back Georges Marchais (the late boss of the French Communist Party in the 80s) who, when asked what he thought of the Soviet Union, said that "le bilan est globalement positif" (the balance is, on the whole, positive).

Christianity is a big tent, and you can find in it many different things, including the best. As an institution wielding absolutes, it has been a politically ruthless tool for its power thirsty leaders. Nobody can be against God.

That's why I find the current shenanigans in Florida so scary, and I am only slightly reassured to see that a majority of Americans seems disgusted by the current show. Will they actually fight back against the zealots? Or will they rely on a few isolated judges? And what will happen if a judge is assassinated? Backlash or increasing fear? (Maybe a national security alert will come conveniently around?)

DONT BRING ABSOLUTES BACK INTO POLITICS; IT IS THE DEATH OF DEMOCRACY.

Posted by: Jérôme | Mar 26 2005 13:27 utc | 2

I am only slightly reassured to see that a majority of Americans seems disgusted by the current show

What is worrying to me about this is the MSM. Good grief! This story is everywhere! Why on earth did they decide that this was news?

As Billmon pointed out so clearly in his last post about the power of the Rovian propaganda machine, I too pretty much look at the news to see what I am supposed to think. Right now I am not quite sure what the desired opinion is. Sometimes it is easy when they talk about evil doers and tyrants. Now they are talking about federal judges...what is going on with that?

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 26 2005 14:29 utc | 3

I agree with both Billmon and Jerome. If you can believe that. I think the problem is the enlightenment come along and added some common sense to the world and christianity has tried to compete with enlightened thinking since that time. The US founding fathers were enlightened, thats why I cannot for the life of me get where the wingnuts believe this country was founded on christianity. Maybe the pilgrims, but the rest was escaping from Europe for more freedom and enlightened thinking, also land.

Now the wingnut Taliban have decided they've had enough of enlightenment thinking and are fighting back. The "Cult of Terri" as Billmon puts it helps the wingnuts define what they are fighting against in an enlightened society. Science has now gotten to the point where it can create the unknown through cloning and gene mapping, etc. and this ads doubt in peoples minds about their beliefs. It is to abstract for the average person to understand, so the Falwells of the world, in the back of his mind, is thinking he's doing good, but really he's only trying to gain power ultimately, start the backlash. Also, the rethugs like the sheeple under the control of the sheperd. So say'th the sheperd, so say'th the flock.

Like a new crusade, they are willing to sacrifice Judge Greer, Mike Schiavo, federalism and anyone or anything else that gets in the way of imposing some semblance of what they believe is rationality to a world thats changing faster than they can comprehend.

In the end, it seems as Billmon said the suffering of Christ and Terri Schiavo is more important than the stem cell research that could save her some day. It's just like in the movie the "Gladiator," when Commicus asked what Rome was. It's a belief, something you can't grab, it just is. Thats the way with Christianity, its an abstract notion predicated in the belief in a book and tradition. Science pops the balloon of their other worldly beliefs. We can't have that.

Until we as a society get back to the beliefs (if that belief is nature and it's elements) of the founding fathers and return to enlightened thinking, we shall have to ride the tital wave of rethug pandering to the wingnuts and the death cult will continue to dominate the headlines for a while.

Posted by: jdp | Mar 26 2005 14:54 utc | 4

Josh Marshall had a link to a Miami Herald article:

Police 'showdown' averted (free sub req.)

Hours after a judge ordered that Terri Schiavo was not to be removed from her hospice, a team of state agents were en route to seize her and have her feeding tube reinserted -- but they stopped short when local police told them they would enforce the judge's order, The Herald has learned.

Agents of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement told police in Pinellas Park, the small town where Schiavo lies at Hospice Woodside, on Thursday that they were on the way to take her to a hospital to resume her feeding.

For a brief period, local police, who have officers at the hospice to keep protesters out, prepared for what sources called ``a showdown.''

In the end, the squad from the FDLE and the Department of Children & Families backed down, apparently concerned about confronting local police outside the hospice.

''We told them that unless they had the judge with them when they came, they were not going to get in,'' said a source with the local police.
...
Participants in the high-stakes test of wills, who spoke with The Herald on the condition of anonymity, said they believed the standoff could ultimately have led to a constitutional crisis and a confrontation between dueling lawmen.

''There were two sets of law enforcement officers facing off, waiting for the other to blink,'' said one official with knowledge of Thursday morning's activities.

In jest, one official said local police discussed ``whether we had enough officers to hold off the National Guard.''

Jeb Bush was ready to have different police forces fight this out?

Truly Talibanesk.

Posted by: b | Mar 26 2005 15:00 utc | 5

How long until someone will shoot Michael Schiavo or Judge Greer?

Posted by: b | Mar 26 2005 15:15 utc | 6

Sort of makes you wonder how Schiavo, as a battle in the culture war, figures in the justification for american neofascism. The "martyrdom" clearly is a rhetorical asset for the right by condemning the "secularists" as murderers, or as http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/26/opinion/26brooks.html?hp>Brooks puts it today, liberal "moral relativism."

Shiavo adds more noise to the cultural cacaphony. It's now more possible for the right to justify embattling an "enemy within."

Posted by: | Mar 26 2005 15:51 utc | 7

Comrades - re. rectification of terminology

for MSM please substitute

corporate media

or

corporate media whores

or

copulating corporate media whores

or ...

Posted by: mistah charley | Mar 26 2005 15:58 utc | 8

How long until someone will shoot Michael Schiavo or Judge Greer?

someone's already been arrested for plotting it:

Also Friday, the FBI said a man was arrested in Fairview, N.C., on charges of sending an e-mail threat, allegedly for offering a $250,000 bounty for Michael Schiavo's death and $50,000 for that of a judge in the case. The FBI did not identify the judge.

Richard Alan Meywes allegedly sent the e-mail Tuesday to two Tampa- area news organizations and the host of a national conservative talk show, the FBI said.

Meywes was taken into custody at his home and charged with murder for hire and with the transmission of interstate threatening communications, the FBI said.

If convicted, Meywes could face up to 15 years in prison and fines up to $500,000, federal prosecutors said.

http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2005/03/26/ap/headlines/d892m
2ao1.txt

Posted by: mistah charley | Mar 26 2005 16:23 utc | 9

b - I see that we are asking the same questions

dos - I did not mention the MSM because I don't see it. I get my news from Le Monde, the Financial Times, and the blogs. I only watch TV occasionally (basically, to see what the majority are informed of, and I cannot tolerate it for very long); I do listen to all-news radio, but we have a pretty good one in France with France-Info. Schiavo has only barely crossed the Atlantic - you get the 30 second (or two-paragraph) summaries and that's it, and they don't convey the full craziness of the situation, just a big moral drama seen from a distance.

We often say that the difference between Europe and the US is religion, but I don't think people realise how wide the gap is.

Le Pen is beginning to look positively nice and tame compared to De Lay. The funny part is that the extreme right is regularly torn between the small "traditionalist" wing (the hardline catholics, typically anti-abortion and anti-gay, but also usually laissez-faire on the economics side) and the populist wing (anti-immigrant, protectionist, working class tough and nationalist - and pretty secular). Only a strong imposing - and successful - leader like Le Pen can keep these conflicting tendencies together. I wonder if the same in-fighting could break out in the US.

Posted by: Jérôme | Mar 26 2005 16:31 utc | 10

dan of steele:"As Billmon pointed out so clearly in his last post about the power of the Rovian propaganda machine, I too pretty much look at the news to see what I am supposed to think. "

That's now called (in the 'hip' circles) prop-agenda, coined by Brian Eno. "The problem is not propaganda but the relentless control of the kind of things we think about..."

Really I think Eno is splitting hairs. It is to me simply our Sim-like version of Orwell's Ministry of Truth. Winston Smith sweating away in his cubicle... dropping all we are not supposed to remember and know down the Memory Hole. Big Brother controls Truth. News. Newspeak.

But of course you know what I mean, Dan. We not only fight to earn money to live but we fight for the retention of what we "know" to be fact, true.

Posted by: Kate_Storm | Mar 26 2005 16:42 utc | 11

i can wrap my head around a version of spirituality that connects science. things being material manifestations of energy. properties of mind and spirit following patterns we see play out in nature. and i don't necessarily need pscycadelics to get there, tho it helps. what i can't see is this christ thing where he is the only way and the only son of god. i'm not saying the dogma is worse than any other version of fanatasism but i don't see how it's better. i think the love your fellow man thing is good for humanity and all these people getting together in their communities and lending helping hands is a good thing. the sense of community and bonding together to work and enhances the life experience. but i truely believe their are 2 types of people, ones who can buy into the story line and ones who can't. i have often wondered how many of those people in the church really believe and would stake their childs life on the truth factor in the bible. its gotts be a separate gene. i was a child that confronted my own mother at the age of three and challenged her on the premise of santa. it was thru the ingestion of drugs in my teen years that i was allowed to peek into the spirit world for the first time, thou i have always believed in the power of thought and intention. maybe this terry issue is the turning point, the showdown.
its not really polite to get in peoples faces about their religion. but it looks like we as a society are eventually going to have to face off.if dominionism keeps growing swallowing whole segments of the christian population and their politics gets farther and farther emmersed in our politics, well if these judges get in we are headed for a revolution. it's now or it's tomorrow. but i don't see either side backing down. we've only our constitution dividing us, and once they own that, and use it against us. we're doomed

Posted by: annie | Mar 26 2005 16:45 utc | 12

Or maybe this is just another episode of 'Survivor'?

Posted by: biklett | Mar 26 2005 17:04 utc | 13

annie

Benjamin called fascism the "aestheticization of politics"--for the past two weeks, "the culture of life" gives das volk a feeling of expressive mobilization and ideological solidarity. This ecstatic moment provided by, of course, the elite jackals who continually abrogate the rights of das volk. Sheeple, someone called them.

As for the thanatotic craziness of the "passion"...I'm no religious scholar but the doctrine of kenosis sort of gets at it: God made himself into a man to experience doubt of Himself.

That's just really fucking weird.

Posted by: | Mar 26 2005 17:16 utc | 14

previous was me

Posted by: slothrop | Mar 26 2005 17:17 utc | 15

The Guardian Ad Litem's report on the Schiavo case.

Her parents said on record for the court that even if they knew she wanted to be allowed to die a natural death, they would keep her alive.

Her parents switched from admitting she was in a persistent vegetative state to claiming she was not AFTER the right-to-lifer liars got involved.

Her parents' lawyer lied to the court by refusing to admit the fact that Michael S. offered to give up any financial claims to her remaining estate (while the parents did not do so.)

Her parents' doctors offered anecdotal, rather than scientific evidence by their specialists (only one of whom was a neurologist), in arguing their case.

Her parents said that, if she had diabetes and all her limbs had to be cut off, and she remained in a persistent vegetative state, they would want to continue feeding her artificially through a tube, again, in spite of any knowledge that she would not want to continue to exist as a shell of her former self.

The right wing has lied its asses off about this case and should be sued, imo, all with all the irresponsible coverage. DeLay, hopefully, will also get his ass sued back to Texas for the remarks he made about Schiavo's character. Did anyone hear Nancy Grace pronounce, as hanging judge that she thinks she is, upon Michael Schiavo's motives? I would love to see her cleaning the toilets at a trucker's rest stop on I-10.

I started out saying...well, why couldn't the husband just let her go with her parents. I no longer can hold that point of view as I've read documents about her case. Her parents do not care about her interests. They only care about their own, and their own inability to accept that she cannot at any time in the foreseeable future, regrow a brain that has shrunken and atropied and been replaced by spinal fluid.

How is that love for their daughter? And if these people are so religious, why can't they let Terri go to her new home with god?

Again, reality-based life in the U.S. gets pounded by Republicans who, let's face it, don't really care about every person in such a state. However, if it gets them political points with the rabid, foaming at the mouth types like Randall (oh yeah, I had an affair, but no biggie) Terry, the "minister" (did he actually attend a seminary, or did he get a degree by mail?) who has disowned his own children because one is homosexual and the other two had children out of wedlock.

If he is so "right to life," then why would he treat like shit his own children who actually had babies in situations he wants to force upon everyone in this nation like Hester Prymes? How can he claim to have ANY "moral authority" when he abandons his own children when they are in need of help to deal with the care of a child?

He's such a disgrace. And he's the spokesperson for the parents?

I'm about to the point where, yes, if someone harms Schiavo or that judge, then I would be more than happy to go to Florida and demand Jeb and Terry and W and DeLay all be tried as accessories to murder, in the same way that someone who cried "fire" in a crowded theater would be responsible for the deaths of those trampled in the rush for the exit.

If the fascists want to deny law and continue to attempt to undo rule of law, then I'm to the point where I think our nation might have to fight them in the streets to get our nation back from the brink of chaos and rule by whim (oh, excuse me, rule by divine decree given to the likes of Randall Terry.)

someone needs to write a new song, "Street Fighing Mom."

I actually watched some of the news coverage last night, and fossilized, botoxed, sunlamped Pat freaking Boone was on as an "expert" about the problems with the judiciary. What a total and complete joke the media has made of this family tragedy.

Posted by: fauxreal | Mar 26 2005 17:35 utc | 16

Juan Cole on the Islamization of the Republican Party (an article someone mentioned earlier)

The Muslim fundamentalists use a provision of Islamic law called "bringing to account" (hisba). As Al-Ahram weekly notes, "Hisba signifies a case filed by an individual on behalf of society when the plaintiff feels that great harm has been done to religion." Hisba is a medieval idea that had all but lapsed when the fundamentalists brought it back in the 1970s and 1980s.

In this practice, any individual can use the courts to intervene in the private lives of others. Among the more famous cases of such interference is that of Nasr Hamid Abu Zaid in Egypt. A respected modern scholar of Koranic studies, Abu Zaid argued that, contrary to medieval interpretations of Islamic law, women and men should receive equal inheritance shares. (Medieval Islamic law granted women only half the inheritance shares of their brothers). Abu Zaid was accused of sacrilege. Then the allegation of sacrilege was used as a basis on which the fundamentalists sought to have the courts forcibly divorce him from his wife.

Abu Zaid's wife loved her husband. She did not want to be divorced. But the fundamentalists went before the court and said, she is a Muslim, and he is an infidel, and no Muslim woman may be married to an infidel. They represented their efforts as being on behalf of the Islamic religion, which had an interest in seeing to it that heretics like Abu Zaid could not remain married to a Muslim woman. In 1995 the hisba court actually found against them. They fled to Europe, and ultimately settled in Holland.
[]
One of the most objectionable features of this fundamentalist tactic is that persons without standing can interfere in private affairs. Perfect strangers can file a case about your marriage, because they represent themselves as defending a public interest (the upholding of religion and morality)
[]
But the most frightening thing about the entire affair is that public figures like congressmen inserted themselves into the case in order to uphold religious strictures. The lawyer arguing against the husband let the cat out of the bag, as reported by the NYT: ' The lawyer, David Gibbs, also said Ms. Schiavo's religious beliefs as a Roman Catholic were being infringed because Pope John Paul II has deemed it unacceptable for Catholics to refuse food and water. "We are now in a position where a court has ordered her to disobey her church and even jeopardize her eternal soul," Mr. Gibbs said. '

In other words, the United States Congress acted in part on behalf of the Roman Catholic church. Both of these public bodies interfered in the private affairs of the Schiavos, just as the fundamentalist Egyptian, Nabih El-Wahsh, tried to interfere in the marriage of Nawal El Saadawi.

Posted by: fauxreal | Mar 26 2005 18:11 utc | 17

I don't inhale the MSM, personally. but I notice what it is focussing on by reflection -- like looking cautiously at the Gorgon in a hand-mirror, the mirror in this case being the blogosphere.

and what I mostly think about it is that whatever the Big Bleeding Leading Story of the Week is, it is there because of a much more interesting and important story that we are not supposed to notice. the MSM to me is a nonstop parade of "Watch The Birdie", a "hey, made you look" gag that distracts the public's 5-minute attention span from what BushCo is really doing.

I don't think we are supposed to think one thing or another thing about Saint Terri. I think we are just supposed to not think about whatever other far more important things are taking place, which the Saga of St Terri is displacing from the boob tube and the tabloids at this time. when the public gets tired of this one, Michael Jackson will show up in court in a kimono, or another pop star will have a "wardrobe malfunction" on stage, or some sports personality will be found to have steroids in his blood. or perhaps Elvis will be seen at Ground Zero with the Shroud of Turin draped over his shoulders, carrying a suitcase nuke. whatever.

in the meantime, I read that a carrier group has been transferred to the Med area from the Pacific. watch the birdie... watch the birdie...

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 26 2005 20:24 utc | 18

None of this would be happening, in my view, if the Bush brothers hadn't made it absolutely clear, over and over again, that they have no respect whatsoever for the legal texture keeping this country together (the Body Politic). They worship a power that they consider far greater than the mere law, namely Mammon, or the Money God. But since it isn't cool to say that you worship Mammon, or the Money God, they prefer to talk about something called "God". Of course they know nothing about God; if they did, they'd treat our civil and criminal laws with reverence and watchful concern. This worship of the Money God is hard on the Body Politic; it's even disabling, and could, if given the opportunity, reduce it to the status of a vegetable.

Posted by: alabama | Mar 26 2005 20:42 utc | 19

DeAnander: don't think we are supposed to think one thing or another thing about Saint Terri. I think we are just supposed to not think about whatever other far more important things are taking place, which the Saga of St Terri is displacing from the boob tube and the tabloids at this time.

Yep... And see... there's the Goodyear Blimp...

alabama: I mentioned earlier today now the conflict with God and mammon is reaching a breaking point... I don't know how the religious reich will be able to sustain it without significant loss of credibility.

Posted by: Kate_Storm | Mar 26 2005 21:02 utc | 20

this pornographic sideshow does not surprise me at all - not in the least. america has long considered metaphysic propositions in the only way they know how - a cargo cult

the utter depravity of what is happening is in & of itself a mimicry performed by a mindless & lonely populace. a populace frightened into their corralls by the institutions of fear where they bray darkly at any moon the whore media presents them with - minute by minute

they have desecrated fully any real & fundamental sense of civi duty & yes as i often say - of common humanity. there has been no human decency for a long, long while

the degradation that occurs now on a daily basis on almost any issue is now something so sordid - old marcus welby md - would be sent into a chronic ward of a hospital psychiatric - to search for healing

i personally do not see how any real healing can happen now - this empire needs to be cleaned so thoroughly - a change of leadership will do nothing at all - perhaps even make it worse. what it requires is something your own constition suggests, violence. & ward churchill is quite right to return to that document in that light

the usurpers who have taken the throne & are doing their caca all over the place must be dealt a blow from which they cannot return. i fully hope in their madness & in their crusading carnage they attack iran because then iit will be a hot time in the old town tonight

& perhaps then - those who have corralled themselves up in their pens might breath instead of bleat

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 26 2005 21:08 utc | 21

Marshall Mc Luhan: The global village.

Terri is like the neighbor girl.

Except, when these things took place in a real village, tones where hushed and confidential, people exhanged opinions with trusted others. They would go on living in that village long after Terri was dead, or her husband was imprisoned, or whatever. And being so close, they they would want others to behave that way if it was them, and so would take trouble to save face - not their face, but the face of the actors in the drama. They would say “well you can’t blame them...damn it is difficult...” etc. The sympathy expressed would often be genuine; insincere, it would pass.

In a cohesive society, of course, the problem would never arise at all. Clear rules and respect for them, as well as love and compassion for the family would see everyone through.

Terri has become an obscene half-dead body clumsily exploited for political purposes. The emotional intensity is ersatz, skin deep, a fleeting catharsis or opportunity for acting out, whipped up by the media which confers legitimacy. A pouring out of emotion that finds no other outlet...the illusion that actions like demonstrating or writing senators can save a life.. the washing away of guilt. (All those Iraqi children.)

It reminds me of the deifing of Diana after her gory death. Teenagers wailing, piles of flowers outside the tunnel, family setting up a paying museum. Diana - a secular princess, rich, privileged, pregnant by her latest lover, vacationing in the most expensive places in the world without her children - called up mediaval symbols, such as The Queen of Hearts, the Neglected Wife.

In short, the frenzy is not even really “Christian” though there have been plenty of crosses and other iconography about. Terri is ...yes, the neighbor girl. Still alive, and lacking any personal characteristics whatsoever, a blank slate, only religion can take her on.

Except for a small cultish following Terri will be forgotten the instant there is no more mileage to be had from her. The media will report on the minor cult, as that will be post-hoc justification for the fuss. Cult members will persevere because of the media attention - neither will last for long.

----

Big mistake on the part of the Republicans. People can see through this stuff - the village girl, remember?

Posted by: Blackie | Mar 26 2005 21:20 utc | 22

"Watch The Birdie" indeed... That include your grandfather, Dubya?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 26 2005 21:38 utc | 23

"Watch The Birdie" indeed... That include your grandfather, Dubya?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 26 2005 21:38 utc | 24

WASHINGTON, March 25 (Xinhuanet) -- US President George W. Bush signed a bill on Friday to extend the mandate of a government group by two years to declassify papers about former Nazi war criminals employed by the Central Intelligence Agency after the Second World War.

Bush signed the bill, which was passed by the House earlier this month and by the Senate in February, at his Crawford ranch, Texas.

The measure extends the life of the Nazi War Crimes and the Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group, set up in 1998, to March 2007 to make the documents public. The group was to disband at the end of this month.

A 1998 public disclosure law required the US government to release all papers related to the Holocaust and Nazi war crimes, and so far more than 8 million pages of documents, including 1.25 million pages from the CIA, have been declassified.

The documents revealed for the first time that the CIA hired former Nazi officials during the Cold War to get intelligence on the former Soviet Union.

The CIA had refused to release specific information on former Nazis it hired, before an agreement was reached last month. Enditem

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 26 2005 21:40 utc | 25

Kudos to Billmon for making some excellent and much-needed and too-few-made points.
To begin with, the obvious plagiarism of the whole Christ story with Socrates, up to the voluntary death when offered a way out, because it would be contrary to the philosopher's core principles. The only serious difference in the entire story being that Socrates died and didn't come back to life.
Then to point that Christianism, like Islam, Judaism and everything else began as a thin cult of a handful of followers. This majorly pisses off the current zealots of all religions.
I basically agree with what he said, except, as Jérôme, on his assessment that Christianism was very good. As long as we can't runt the whole evolution of the world from 1AD, taking out Jesus and his guys, we can't say. But there's still a lot of bad things that were brought. As far as I'm concerned, I'd consider it a quite bad thing, if only because monotheism as such necessarily brings fanaticism and hatred and destruction of every other religion, with the massacres and widespread destruction of other religions, thoughts, philosophies. Of course, there are times of tolerance, but well, polytheisms were usually more tolerant on average and the periods of troubles were very limited. Christianism is also quite responsible for a large part of the annihilation of American natives, which is still imho the biggest crime we've seen so far.
And if we look at the European area, Christianism has a direct and massive responsibility in the downfall of the Roman Empire, by weakening the links between pagan provinces and peoples and the Christian fanaticist centre and Emperors, which led to the people not bothering to resist pagan invaders rather than defending their unified empire. Basically, the blinded fanaticist Christians ruling the Empire broke him without even realising it, and the whole area went down first into chaos and dark ages, then into constant infighting for the next 1500 years. Europe really recovered only after facing its own complete and final annihilation in WWII. So, any sane person can't forgive what was one of the biggest culprits in the breaking of a unified and widely peaceful European/Mediterranean political body, that took 1500 years to be, partly, brought back to life.
And, last but not least, as an atheist, there is no way to see as globally very good something that perpetuated the worst kind of dumbshit superstitions for so long on such wide a scale. But I realise people may differ on that last position ;)

"I don't think people realise how wide the gap is."
I'll be blunt and straight. What Americans don't care and Europeans don't realise is that we're talking about absolutely alien societies that evolved widely diverginly during 250 years. If you consider how alien Nazi Germany was from the rest of Europe in a matter of decades, it is enough to show you that the zeitgeist, the weltanschauung, the global culture of a society can quickly change and be barely noticed by the outside world. Of course the changes haven't been as quick and radical in the US, but there's a worrying trend at work here.

At this point in the Schiavo circus, I'm quite ready to hope for some of these nutcases to break in and try to mouth-feed her, which would result in a 15-years-too-late merciful death. This would at least show both the nuttiness of the crazy fundies and the hopelessness of her situation, which the fuckers wouldn't realise unless they see it happen under their own eyes.

Fauxreal: Cole's article is a must. Even moreso that he wrote it just a couple of days before some of these idiot sugested Schiavo should be divorced from her wife.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Mar 26 2005 21:40 utc | 26

That birdie thing distracts everyone. While the yahoos are yelling and screaming outside the hospice, there are dying people inside who could probably use a little peace and quiet in their final moments.

I am about as disgusted as I can get about this whole fundamentalist crock of sh*t.

Protests Outside Schiavo Hospice Chaotic

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 26 2005 22:48 utc | 27

as blind willy mctell sd prefiguring the frankfirt school - "its a sorry old world, it's a sorry old world"

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Mar 26 2005 22:53 utc | 28

Do not inhale MSM... LOL!

fauxreal - thanks for the rant. Actually thanks to all in this thread.

Was it a year ago that someone said that his/her jaw had gone insensitive from dropping to the floor so frequently? All our collective jaws are now permanently stuck on the floor, gathering dust, aren't they?

Posted by: Jérôme | Mar 26 2005 23:36 utc | 29

@jerome personally, my jaw is bruised from repeated floor impact. I think I might have a hairline fracture.

it is almost enough to make one believe in the facile metaphor of nation-as-person, as if a country has a personality and can therefore have personality disorders. the US right now appears deeply schizophrenic, as if it is splitting off into radically different cultures right before my eyes. I suspect that this has a lot to do with the increasingly brutal class divide... it is as if -- like many other third world countries -- the US now has a "hinterland" culture of pre-modernism and a sophisticated metropolitan culture of post-modernism, and there is no common ground.

Posted by: DeAnander | Mar 27 2005 0:59 utc | 30

thx to all for the intelligent comments

Posted by: lenin's ghost | Mar 27 2005 4:32 utc | 31

I dunno, seems this whole thing is pretty representative of the synergistic ghost dance between the government and the media. For me it's taken on the fascination of something akin to Mary Hartman Mary Hartman or maybe Twin Peaks, minus that beautiful foreboding sound track. Essentially, there is no news to this story, aside from the dead-end appeals, all we're really left with here is a kind of endless politics as entertainment audition on par for the Gong Show. Like much melodrama there is that central seed of human frailty and of death (real here) to anchor the whole show to something both plausable and personal -- which, because the story is itself catatonic, can only live on the spin which begets yet more spin. Obviously the Rebublicans new all this and with a drooling media in tow, figured they would get all the best parts in a passion play that could, without much risk, redeem the (largely) shattered compassion image. Unfortunatly for them, and like Mary Hartman and Twin Peaks before, which never caught on with those people, because those people were the proverbial butt of the joke (and they knew it), the Repubs have been caught red handed in bringing their most fanatical, wacko, and deluded front and center on national TV.------- GONG.

Posted by: anna missed | Mar 27 2005 8:47 utc | 32

A family tragedy that unfolded in a Texas hospital during the fall of 1988 was a private ordeal — without judges, emergency sessions of Congress or the debate raging outside Terri Schiavo's Florida hospice.

The patient then was a 65-year-old drilling contractor, badly injured in a freak accident at his home. Among the family members keeping vigil at Brooke Army Medical Center was a grieving junior congressman — Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas).

Family of the lawmaker involved in the Schiavo case decided in '88 to let his comatose father die (subscription required)

I am shocked I tell you, shocked.

Posted by: dan of steele | Mar 27 2005 19:22 utc | 33

DeLay's family let father die


Open link to dan of steele's post above.

Posted by: | Mar 27 2005 19:26 utc | 34

Schiavo family asks protestors to go home: protestors refuse

Posted by: The macabre tug-of-war continues | Mar 27 2005 20:31 utc | 35

in addition to this story's sensationalism being a diversion from the dire economic & military quagmires that this dictatorial junta has purposely led the u.s. into, it also functions as an emotional hotbutton issue that raises the hackles of most anyone who attempts to understand it & further widens the bipolar divisions in this country. tension, hate & disgust replace rational analyses & discourse. people turned against each other, diffusing the pent-up aggression & frustration that living under this coup entails, rather than directing all energies up the hierarchy which is destroying us. granted, the pollings don't look good for the politicians after this, but they are targeted not for the pivotal outrages that require a just accountability, but on lessor charges of hypocrisy & manipulation. meanwhile, staggering numbers of people are being killed explicitly for u.s. consumption & plundering, the nation veers toward bankruptcy, and everyone's dignity is being sullied w/ sneering contempt by a small coterie of crazies. not only is the public diverted from what they should really be worked up about, their energies are being bled off, giving legitimate rationale to a decision to drop out or give up. and weakened.

Posted by: b real | Mar 28 2005 3:20 utc | 36

Playing God: Schiavo's father let his own mother die

Posted by: Q.E.D. | Mar 28 2005 15:10 utc | 37

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