February 27, 2020

Saturday Ramblings, May 2, 2015, Memeing Shakespeare Edition

Hello, imonks, and welcome to the weekend.  Ready to Ramble?

1956 Nash Rambler Palm Beach Coupe

1956 Nash Rambler Palm Beach Coupe

Happy birthday goes out this week to William Shakespeare. He is 451.  Here’s his present: Only 8 percent of the top universities in the United States now require their English majors to take even one class on him. “We have found our Bard suffering ‘the unkindest cut of all,’ ” said the authors of the report, from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni.

“At most universities, English majors were once required to study Shakespeare closely as an indispensable foundation for the understanding of English language and literature. But today — at the elite institutions we examined, public and private, large and small, east and west — he is required no more….Rather than studying major literary works in depth, students are taught the rationale for and applications of critical approaches that are heavily influenced by theories of race, class, gender, and sexuality.”

Well, something’s rotten in Denmark, if you ask me. The Bard deserves better for his birthday. So, to honor him, we are going to intersperse this Ramblings with Shakespeare quotes, attached to really cute animals. Because few things are sweeter than mixing the profundity and grandeur of the greatest English writer with the whimsy and humor with which God created some animals. Or, as the Bard put it, “Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time.”
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This month Congress will need to decide whether to reform, repeal or re-up section 215 of the Patriot act, the part that gives the NSA the ability to collect meta-data on almost all American citizens without cause or notification. GOP presidential candidates have already begun to weigh in. “Sadly, one GOP candidate thinks the NSA’s violation of your rights is ‘very important,’ ” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) tweeted over the weekend. “On day one in the Oval Office, I will END the NSA’s illegal assault on your rights.” The comment was a swipe at Jeb Bush, who has not only supported the program but said it’s  “the best part of the Obama administration”, and that, “For the life of me, I don’t understand the debate” over the metadata program. Well, Jeb, let’s review:

  • First, there is NO actual data that the program has done anything to actually prevent terrorism. An expert panel Obama appointed to review the classified facts concluded, “Our review suggests that the information contributed to terrorist investigations by the use of section 215 telephony meta-data was not essential to preventing attacks…”
  • Second, it is, on its face, unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon (A Bush appointee)  said, “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval. Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.”

So, it doesn’t achieve its goals. And its unconstitutional. And it costs insane amounts of money. And it generates suspicion of the government.  Well, Jeb, I agree.  I don’t understand the debate either.

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Speaking of politics, the next time you are in Castelbosoc, Italy, you can stop in at the new attraction in town: Museo Della Merda, which roughly translates to “Museum of Poop.” The museum’s goals is to show “what a useful and living substance crap really is.” The exhibit tracks the history of excrement and seeks to educate visitors on the ways poo is put to good use around the world. 10-animals-auditioning-shakespeare

On the sidebar to the right is an interesting article: Which Hymns Should We Forget About? The author argues for leaving these five in the dustbin of history:

5. Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus (The things of earth will grow strangely clear in the light of his glory and grace.)

4. Onward, Christian Soldiers (the war imagery is confusing and dangerous).

3. The Old Rugged Cross (sentimental, sappy poetry)

2. Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee (theologically shallow and humanistic)

1. In the Garden (shallow lyrics and music)

Hmmm.  I love Joyful, Joyful.  The others, …  not so much. My question to you, imonks, is this: what five hymns would you like to see left behind? And which would be the five you hope are still sung 200 years from now?

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 Odd headline of the week: Burnt Macaroni and Cheese Forces Evacuation at Iowa Capitol.

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Firefighters in Slidell, Louisiana, roared into action Saturday after someone phoned in to report seeing 6 ducklings plunge through a drain. I’m not sure what this has to do with firefighting, but whatever.  I like ducks. The problem, of course, was how to get them out.  Firefighter Cody Knecht  wriggled partway into the drain and got the bright idea to impersonate their mother using the “quack, quack, quack” ringtone on his iPhone. It worked.kxnn4

 

Mrs. T, a pet tortoise, had a problem. Her front legs were chewed off by a rat.  Yikes. Her owner,  Jude Ryder of Pembrokeshire, Wales, had a solution. she turned to her son, mechanical engineer Dale Sinclair-Jones, to design a set of wheels for Mrs. T. “We were afraid she may have to be put down but her new set of wheels have saved her life,” Ryder told the BBC. “She took to her new wheels straight away but she has had to learn how to turn and stop. She can get a good speed up, much faster than before.” And this only a week after the new wheels. I think the Hare needs to watch out.

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It was an unlikely meeting, perhaps. Ted Cruz met Monday with two gay Democratic men who own a club and hotels in New York.  They mostly wanted to interview him about his views on Israel (since Cruz is running for President) but they also pushed back on his position on gay marriage (Cruz wants the states, not the feds, to decide). You would think people from opposite sides of the spectrum meeting together to discuss differences would be lauded by all.  Alas, the meeting raised a firestorm.  The hoteliers, Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass are now facing economic punishment and public shaming. At least two gay advocacy groups have cancelled a charity events at their club, and Democratic LGBT groups planned a protest outside of one of their hotels. So this is what we have come to: The out-group must not even be spoken to. Cute6_Slide

SCOTUS listened to arguments about same-sex marriage this week.  Without the issue of religion coming up once. Hmmm.  There seems to be a contest going on to paint the debate in the most apocalyptic tones. Who would you vote for?

  • James Dobson says “we may have a civil war” over the issue, and “I really believe if what the Supreme Court is about to do is carried through with, and it looks like it will be, then we’re going to see a general collapse in the next decade or two.”
  • Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said last year, “I’m beginning to think, are re-education camps next? When are they going to start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians?” This year he says of the Supreme’s decision: “This really will determine the future of Western Civilization. It really will, this is very serious.”
  • Glen Beck addressed his adversaries directly: “What kind of America are you building, you frickin’ Nazis! What kind of Nazi regime are you building? Wake up! … You are following a Nazi group. I don’t know who is even leading this, but you’re becoming Nazis.””We need to start putting them into the robes of the Inquisition,” he continued. “That’s the way we need to start looking at these people because this is the Inquisition, gang. You think that there isn’t a Christian holocaust coming?”
  • Rick Joyner prophesied that the SCOTUS decision could lead to the mark of the beast. But, ever-nuanced, he made sure to qualify this:  “Even if this is not the actual mark of the beast, it is at least a precursor, a ‘dress rehearsal’ that sets up the world for this ultimate test.”
  • Mike Huckabee says that the Christian faith will soon be “criminalized”.
  • Don Wildman of the American Family Association said, “Justice Kennedy holds civilization in his hands [funny, I thought that was God’s job]. He will decide which way we are going to go, and if we step away from the Judeo-Christian perspective we will never return. Our society will be radically changed within the next 30, 40 years, your grandchildren will be influenced and the society that we have will never, can never be repeated.”
  • Alan Keyes not only seemed to agree with Dobson that a wrong SCOTUS ruling could lead to war, but said it would be justified: “If the United States Supreme Court presumes to impose any redefinition of marriage on the states, respectively, or the people, without addressing the issue of unalienable right it involves, with reasoning that respects God-endowed right (which is the logic by which the American people asserted, and still claim to possess and exercise, sovereign authority over themselves), the Court’s decision will be an attack on the very foundation of constitutional government, of by and for the people of the United States. It will be a high crime and misdemeanor that effectively dissolves the just bonds of government between and among the states, and among the individuals who compose the people of the United States. It will therefore be just cause for war.”

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Prison Fellowship praised the decisions by Koch Industries and other companies to no longer ask about criminal history on job applications.Koch Industries joined companies such as Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and Best Buy on Monday in deciding to delete the questions. “Continually punishing somebody for one act in their past is antithetical to the gospel and diminishes human potential and the whole concept of the Imago Dei [image of God], said Jesse Wiese, a policy analyst with Justice Fellowship, the policy arm of Prison Fellowship.

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Franco Rabuffi of Italy wrote to Pope Francis some time ago.  He apparently asked for prayer for an illness.  This week Francis called Franco to see how he was doing.  Alas, Franco figured it was a prank call on hung up on His Holiness.  Twice. Fortunately,  Francis is persistent.  By  the third call, Franco finally figured out he was speaking to the actual Pope Francis. “I was speechless, but Francis came to my rescue, saying that what had happened was funny.”

 

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Finally, a couple of you did not enjoy my music selection last week. Philistines.  This should be more to your liking. Be sure to watch the whole thing.

Well, William, we have come to the end. Happy 451th birthday. I hope you liked the present. You know, the animals quoting your plays.  [by the way, I could not fit them all in.  Go to Sliced Soup for a full gallery of them]. Really, Bill, what did you think? Pretty clever, eh?  What eloquent and profound thanks would you like to offer, O Master of Words? shakespeare_in_reverse

Comments

  1. The museum’s goals is to show “what a useful and living substance crap really is.”
    Yeah but we can just go to Congress to see this.

    As for the songs, I would banish the one involving an “unforeseen kiss” from worship. I know it’s not really a hymn but it still needs to go.

    Shakespearean squirrels for the win.

  2. Brianthedad says

    Hooray! Ramblings! I’ve looked forward to it all week!

  3. Marvelous mees, Daniel!

  4. Agreed: keep “Joyful, Joyful”, ditch the other four…

    • The article points to one sappy song that I particularly despise. It is “As The Deer.” Now I like Chuck Girard, but he slipped up on this one. It takes the first verse of Psalm 42, a powerful Psalm of lament that works from despair to hope, and turns it into a syrupy sweet mush that would put a diabetic into a coma!

      btw, Daniel, I tried to click on your link on animals quoting Shakespeare, and keep getting redirected to a Viagra ad.

      • Marcus Johnson says

        Over time, I’ve come to really loathe “As the Deer” for what it does to Psalm 42. It’s pretty symptomatic of how we treat the Psalms: take the parts that feel happy and light, and pretend the songs of lament, doubt, and pain don’t exist.

        • Michael Z says

          At least in the version I most often hear sung, “As The Deer” also arbitrarily switches between old English and modern English, i.e. “As the deer panteth for the water so my soul longeth after thee… You alone are my strength and shield… and I long to worship thee. You’re my friend…” Very annoying.

      • Daniel Jepsen says

        Yes, it seems the hackers have gotten the better of me. I’m not sure how to fix it. If you type in the url directly (slicedsoup.com) it should take you there.

        • David H says

          when you click the link, at the end of the url is an extra “http://”, so just delete that from the url and refresh and it should work

  5. Christiane says

    Shakespeare . . . such magnificent literature . . .
    and yet, why is it that, as soon as we read ‘Shakespeare memes’, the first thought that comes to mind for many of us is ‘OUT DAMNED SPOT’

    ?

    • My JH English teacher named his dog Spot, so that every time he let the dog outside, he could say…

  6. Robert F says

    So, the Christian illuminaries cited above are ready to go ISIL if the Supreme Court renders a decision regarding same-sex marriage that they disagree with? Didn’t old Willie say something like,“A fundamentalist by any other name would smell as….”?

    Othoh, militant gay activists already seem to be abusing their newly acquired cultural power, as evidenced by the Cruz interview story.

    Sometimes I’m embarrassed to admit I’m human.

    • Donalbain says

      Let’s see. One group has spokesmen saying that people getting married is a just reason to kill people. Another group is choosing a different location to have a dance. Both sides are as bad as each other!

      • Robert F says

        Did I equate the two groups word and actions? No. I merely lamented that the second group (many of whose objectives I likely agree with) has taken a page from the first group’s play book, which involves culture warefare and social/economic punishment of “traitors” who even deign to talk to the “enemy”.

        • Meanwhile, as these two sides compete in who can out-kulturkampf the other, our nation slides deeper into debt, more and more people fall into poverty, our infrastructure crumbles, and more of the world falls into chaos.

          Lord, what fools these mortals be.

        • Richard Hershberger says

          “Did I equate the two groups word and actions?”

          Yes. Since this is the day for English majors, this old English major will point out that you set up a parallel structure in your post, which is an ancient and honorable device. You may have stumbled into it unintentionally, but Donalbain’s reading of the text is nonetheless perfectly reasonable.

          Also, the power of gays to patronize or not businesses that are aimed at gay customers is hardly a newly acquired power.

          • Robert F says

            Okay, just to make it clear: I did not intend to say that the two were equal, though my construction may have given that impression.

            The new power is not in the ability to boycott a business, but in the degree of cultural-wide influence such boycotts by the GLBT+ community have recently acquired. That power may be used fairly and responsibly, or viciously and with a heavy hand. In this case, I believe it was used viciously and with a heavy hand.

        • Daniel Jepsen says

          I’m with Robert on this one, because no-one on the right criticized or punished Cruz for speaking to his opposite number. They are upset about a change in law, not polite discourse. It’s apples and oranges.

          But I was rather blown away by the over-the-top rhetoric.

    • Christiane says

      well, you’ve got the Christian far-right hollering ‘we’re being persecuted’ while all the time working for the Republican Party’s right to prevent some of our American people from marrying each other civilly.

      okay . . . so there is a back-lash against the Christian far-right showing up among public businesses that refuse to accommodate gay couples with wedding services (florists, bakeries, etc.) . . .

      what I would like to know is this:

      what would a WAR between the Christian far-right and the federal government look like? and are the military members of my family safe from these right-wing culture warriors or NOT?

      if there has been a ‘war’ going on, I would suggest that the victims are not Christians, but those that Christian extremists have targeted for years without being held accountable: gay people, transexuals, Muslims, ‘liberals’ (whoever THEY are), women, labor union members, and the poor . . . and on and on . . .

      someone says ‘no more’ to these extremists, and like the bullies they are, they begin to cry and be fearful ?
      . . . and want a REAL war with ‘the gov’tmint’ ?

      Talk is cheap. Especially by politicians attempting to please a strident base. Nothing really important going on here, and it’s time to move on, folks . . .

      I sure would like to see fundamentalist Christian people care about the REAL struggles going on in our country
      . . . they can start with addressing the divorce rate among fundamentalist-Christian folks . . . or maybe facing up to Republican greed (did we hear about the Duggars placing a food package into the car of a poor family while the cameras were rolling, and later, with the cameras off, taking the food back and putting it in their OWN suv ?) . . . or maybe they might like to support the poor women in their community who don’t get paid an equal wage and yet are asked to bring new life into their families on what they now make which already doesn’t stretch to cover expenses.

      But that seems too much to ask right now, I suppose, looking at the line-up of possible ‘christian’ Republican presidential candidates . . . okay, I will stop this rant . . .
      I know, I know,
      ” but there is nothing either good or bad
      but thinking makes it so”. 🙂

      (Wm. Shakespeare or Ted Cruz, maybe, but not Ken Ham this time)

  7. Robert F says

    I’ve heard that the Museo Della Merda is a real cesspool.

    • Brianthedad says

      I wonder where their restrooms are piped to? Another exhibit?

      Sorry, Venerable Bard, I ended the sentence with a preposition. I’m sure, in your day, that this was something up with which you would not put.

  8. Robert F says

    “Really, Bill, what did you think? Pretty clever, eh? What eloquent and profound thanks would you like to offer, O Master of Words?”

    To-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow,
    Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
    To the last syllable of recorded time;
    And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
    The way to dusty death….

    • Brianthedad says

      Out, out, brief candle!
      …Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
      That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
      And then is heard no more. It is a tale
      Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
      Signifying nothing.

      Probably not going to make its way into any praise songs anytime soon, but still, one of the greatest soliloquies in English. We had to learn that in my junior year of high school, and perform it, each of us, with our own take on it. In the time of teenage angst, it was a great thing to realize, hey, I’m not the only one who’s ever wondered what’s the point.

  9. Robert F says

    It’s wonderful that these companies no longer ask about criminal history on job applications. This is an application of the Biblical concept of Jubilee. Even a single twenty year old conviction for a minor crime can thwart the efforts of people to find better jobs and situations for themselves and their families.

    • Suzanne says

      i have several young men relatives who have records, not bad kids but made some bad decisions, so I am glad to see this as well. However, it’s very easy to find things online, and the job market is still very tight, so I’m not sure it’ll help much. Someone with a long gap (as there would be for a prison stint) in the work history isn’t likely to get a second look for anything but the most low level or on the edge of legal job. I know too many people who have impeccable work histories, are hard workers, have degrees, etc and are having trouble finding a decent job after a layoff because of that work gap. Ask any hiring manager and they will tell you that the person who is already employed will get the nod way before the unemployed.

  10. flatrocker says

    Daniel,
    At the 7 hour point in the llama video, it seems to take a decidedly more darker and ominous tone as opposed to the more hopeful themes of the first six hours. Could you please comment on the implication and intent of this shift? And should I continue to watch in hope of a rousing and inspiring finish?

    • Brianthedad says

      If you’d put in the time, the denouement at 9:56:00 included a wonderful juxtaposition of llamo and llama revealing that we are all ‘called’ to be llamas, bearing the burdens of others, quietly, without the aid of a hump as dromedaries were ‘called’ to do.

      • Daniel Jepsen says

        Exactly. Thanks Brian. That was just what I was going for.

        • Daniel, I don’t suppose you’ve thought about rewriting the lyrics as a soliloquy, have you? Somehow “I used to be a treehouse / I lived in a cake” have a great deal of angst and darkness in them, I think… 😉

  11. “I Come To The Garden Alone” – perfect song for the inebriated Christian. If you’re sober? Not so much.

  12. Rather than studying major literary works in depth, students are taught the rationale for and applications of critical approaches that are heavily influenced by theories of race, class, gender, and sexuality.”
    This is a great example of all that is wrong in our me me me existance

  13. Suzanne says

    One of the best discussions I’ve come across regarding gay marriage is here:
    http://www.onbeing.org/program/future-marriage-david-blankenhorn-and-jonathan-rauch/4883
    Well worth listening to.

    The possibility of same sex marriage being legalized throughout the country has turned Evangelicals & other Christians into a combination Chicken Little-The sky is falling! It’s FALLING!-and the boy who cried wolf-We’re being persecuted! Persecuted!!

    I fear that when persecution turns to something more ominous than not being wished Merry Christmas or being paid (yes, you would be earning a living off this) to bake a cake for a gay couple, few will pay attention. Oh, it’s just those people complaining again about being mistreated. Nothing to see here.

    My Facebook feed has been inundated lately with postings of the dire consequences of legal same sex marriage in the entire U.S. When some of the sources are called out as being bogus or satirical, the response is almost always the same–“Well, this COULD happen! So be afraid! Be very afraid!” I don’t think it’s brought down civilization in states where it’s legal.

    • Andrew Zook says

      What is really ironic is that a real shooting “civil war” WOULD destroy ‘Western’ civilization much quicker and thoroughly than what a small % of the population is doing now… Even the polarized, “cold war” that is going on now is probably doing more to tear apart western civ… but of course the culture warriors seem incapable of realizing that…
      I’m am so sick of whiny, pampered american christians crying about persecution and the demise of “their” precious culture – NO WHERE in Holy Writ does God want His followers to worship and preserve a nation/culture like these guys are trying to do… What’s so holy and great about “Western” civ anyway? It brought some value but it also exterminated Native Americans…it brought slavery,..it made and dropped nukes…and on and on. NOTE to culture warriors – it’s not worth it. Western civ is not the kingdom of God… Our allegiance is supposed to be to Him and His kingdom alone. We’re certainly called to bless the nations and bring Christ’s love and peace to all cultures as we can through His Spirit, but we are never, ever to glue ourselves to one particular earthly nation and then fume and fight to preserve it and it alone. We are called to live IN the world in whatever shape it is and be the Light amidst the darkness. But these guys only care about a mythological end and seem willing to act out DARK means to attain it…

      I agree that both sides are pretty atrocious and if and when they start their “war” I’ll be doing my best to stay away from both and not give aid to both… but the “christian” side gets my goat a little more I guess, because they should know better…

    • Canadian society hasn’t collapsed yet, and they legalized same-sex marriage back in 2005…

  14. That Museo Della Merda sounds like a crappy place.

  15. As the parent of a current English major, what I sense is a general disdain for anything old; by which I mean anything that wasn’t first composed on an electronic device. If he can’t read it online, he doesn’t want to; and pity the newspaper or magazine article I leave on his desk… And yet, this is a student not interested in pursuing journalism; who loves etymology and is teaching himself Latin outside of class time; one who treasures the idea that two of his pieces made it into print this year. Many paradoxes.

    On the other hand, it’s possible that Bill Shakespeare would not understand how his works have lasted this long, just as I believe the KJV translators would wonder why that version is still kicking around when, in a world where English has changed so much, we have so many clearer options.

  16. Let us not forget that Michael Spencer was an English teacher who treasured the Bard.

  17. dumb ox says

    Rioting is wrong but treason and civil war are perfectly justified. Got it.

    • Robert F says

      Yesterday I heard an interview on NPR with a writer for the Atlantic (whose name I do not remember) who said in answer to a question about whether he supported riots as political tools (since he believes that sometimes riots can have long-term positive effects for a community by calling attention and resources to its plight) that it would be as senseless to be in favor of riots as of earthquakes: they both just happen when the conditions that cause them arise.

      • dumb ox says

        From the quotes in the Ramblings, it sounds like there is no difference regarding civil war: it will just be a logical conclusion if the Supreme Court makes the wrong decision.

        • dumb ox says

          It certainly isn’t threatening extortion on the part of conservatives. Wink. Wink.

    • Robert F says

      I can understand why people who feel powerless, and are powerless in many respects, would riot in their own neighborhoods, even though much of the damage would be to themselves: they are filled with the rage of not being heard, and of being forgotten, and in that rage they do the only thing they know how to do to get some kind of attention, and to make their existence and feelings known, if only for a while.

      • petrushka1611 says

        Robert, I think you’ve nailed it, and I’m glad someone else sees it.

        I didn’t understand the anger and rioting until a few years ago, when, during our engagement, my wife and I faced a situation at her home and church where we had a system (Gothard-ish authoritarianism; a controlling, unpredictable mother; a meddling, narcissistic, tone-deaf pastor) stacked against us.

        It didn’t matter what we did, it was wrong, and we were always under suspicion. Any attempt to work within the system was met with failure, because we weren’t playing against the other team, we were playing against the referee, and the ref wins all the games.

        When my wife started to think about cutting herself, wondering if that was the only way to get people to finally pay attention, I understood how people can turn self-destructive when they’re powerless.

        I thought several times about blowing the relationship up completely, no matter how much it hurt me and my fiancée. It was the only way I could think of to show the “authorities” how damaging their system was, by taking it to its logical end.

        Then there were the lies, the double standards, the constantly changing demands…

        I get why people riot. They’re faced with a system that’s stacked against them, and they’ve given up any hope of fixing it. I also think this is why the riots have happened in Ferguson and Baltimore, but not in Cleveland, Beavercreek, and NYC after those killings. My guess is that those latter cities haven’t had nearly the continual problems. Well, I KNOW Beavercreek hasn’t. I grew up there.

        • Robert F says

          I’ve been there too, petrushka1611.

          My heart goes out to people caught up in the constraining, oppressive trap of conditions and places like that neighborhood in Baltimore; in such places and conditions, the walls are invisible, and all the more formidable and imposing for their invisibility. I can understand why people would rage against the machine.

    • dumb ox says

      My point being that conservatives are really pegging the hypocrisy meter to condemn the riots as they threaten civil war.

      • Robert F says

        Totally agree. It’s an idle threat, though; conservatives are far too comfortable with their style of life to rebel, aside from a few desperate wing-nuts who take the rhetoric seriously. It’s only when “you ain’t got nothing” that “you got nothing to lose” by acts of rebellion.

        • Daniel Jepsen says

          Agree completely. The rhetoric in those quotes strike me as so absurd they can only be about stoking the base by fear tactics. If I thought any of them really meant it I would be more frightened.

          • Suzanne says

            Daniel J, I think some of them do mean it, except that they think they would obviously win because is on their side.

          • that was supposed to be “they think they would obviously win because God is on their side.”

        • I agree. Those quotes were likely intended to rally the troops (translation: get them to donate).

          The problem concerns those pesky unintended consequences. What if Texas rattling sabres with the U.S. military results in an altercation leading to the death of either National Guard or Federal troops? Those conservative leaders likely won’t pull an Urkel (“Did I do thaaaat?”).

  18. I too praise the changes in criminal history. Now, what about all the churches that are running background checks on so many of its volunteer positions?

    And, in our society, criminal history means lots of things. I know a wonderful mother with a criminal arrest history due to a library book. I know a young man with a criminal history because he put tint on his car windows. I have heard in some cities where the policeman don’t live in the same neighborhoods they work in, up to 90% of the citizens have criminal records. It has gone crazy.

    • Well that may be an issue beyond the scope of this Ramblings. But the issue of police not living where they work, killing civilians, and general abuse of power is real, and possibly escalating. I was pleased to see the courage and values displayed by Baltimore leadership during the rioting. Human lives (we might say “American citizens” if we were trying to make a Constitutional point) are always more valuable than stuff, and the choice not to escalate the violence took a lot of courage, but demonstrated a proper respect for the citizens, and proper values. But at the end of it all, it wouldn’t have even happened if police were not in some bad habits, which includes killing people.

  19. Klasie Kraalogies says

    Given the announcement less than 3 hours ago –

    “This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England, This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings, Fear’d by their breed, and famous by their birth.”
    – Richard II

    • That Other Jean says

      It’s a princess! I wonder what George thinks about all the fuss made over her.

  20. Michael Z says

    If Christians ever began to seriously speak and act out in ways that challenged the fundamental sins of this nation – our materialism, individualism, worship of violence, economic inequality, racism, American exceptionalism, etc. – then yes, I could believe that Christians would find themselves facing persecution. But as long as we continue to support and champion the worst sins of this country while directing our moral wrath towards gay people, immigrants, foreigners, the poor, and other more vulnerable targets, I don’t think we’re in much danger.

    Imagine, for example, that Christians in large numbers began speaking out against our tax structures that allow the richest members of our society to pay a lower marginal tax rate than anyone else. Or against our country’s use of military power and the sheer amount of money we spend on it (and the industries that profit as a result). Or imagine we stopped paying money for movies that glorify violence or sexual immorality. Or if we began speaking out against handgun ownership as something fundamentally incompatible with Jesus’ command to love our enemies. Or for that matter, remember back when Christians actually cared about opposing abortion, back before we somehow decided that abortion is less of a tragedy than gay marriage? There are plenty of things Christians in the US could do to invite real persecution, but I don’t honestly think there’s much risk of that happening.

    • Andrew Zook says

      Amen Amen! I continue to find it amazing that being gay is the one sin that has exercised so many but the same lot cares nothing about so many other obvious sins past and present – in fact many of them think those “sins” are/were “righteousness”! The verse in Isaiah 5:20 comes to mind. And yes, lot’s of secular people are mixing up wrong and right… but so are a lot of so called christians.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Because Homosexuality is always the OTHER guy’s SIN SIN SIN.

  21. Although this isn’t about rambling I thought you should know. This forum has got me through a difficult time starting last year about now when my sister went down by the end of this month on her birthday. I wish I could tell you how but to be honest I really don’t know how it all works. I know that everyone here has contributed. I have seen a maturing in me I would have never known. I have grown when everything seemed stagnate.

    When Michael Spencer was going through the way for him it was this time of the year that God made a way for me yet again. How would Michael ever know me or that something he started would touch me. You see I was in darkness of alcohol and other things trying in my prideful self to stop hurting. Of course my way. When you have 20 plus inch arms covered in ink and ride and your father always said pride, pride, pride, you just do it, it becomes a little confusing. I have a condition you know. I’m a man.

    It got so bad I began cutting and somehow this took me from spiritual pain and was a step up from the darkness and made me feel better. I was losing badly this battle waging inside me. It was really bad and I could graphically tell you more but that wouldn’t be the point. I know why He came. I got to see darkness and dark things that no man should see. My sister prayed for me and told me she said to Him we’re losing him if you don’t step in. How could she know I was hanging from a rope in my garage. it didn’t work obviously. You see if you ever wondered why we do the things we do In Him whose name is Jesus please remember me and my story because you all became a part of it. Love pours from this heart as water flows from my eyes. Hope and love deeply.

    A poem for you from me….( I had no title but I think I might now and thank you with all my heart)

    Empty, bare and all alone
    To only seem this way
    Gifts that share and are my own
    Now filling everyday

    Do You know how much You mean
    That You first loved this way
    The beauty that lives behind the scene
    Hope loves through the day

    Love pouring out from my heart
    The changes to my stance
    Wanting we should never part
    Were never left to chance

    I see the scars from where I bled
    I want to put my hand in Yours
    Living outside pages read
    Your love reigns as it pours

    Wondrously made and perfectly unique
    Not one second remains the same
    I ask and find that which I seek
    This is precious nature in the name

    Yes, nature of love poured out in blood
    Sealed into covenant that You keep
    This life that comes down from above
    It was love that dared to take the leap

    Now this is bravery beyond compare
    As You looked on with not a word
    I have seen just how You care
    In silence the best news ever heard

    My name is Bill

    • W / Bill,

      Thank you for sharing yourself. May God continue to be with you and guide you. Blessings in the name of Jesus.

    • I’m so glad you made it through, W/Bill. Thank you for your courage and honesty. I hope we’ll see you here for many years to come.

    • Robert F says

      Hello, Bill. God bless you and keep you.

  22. Fitting focus on the Bard today. My daughter and I are headed out today along with one of her close friends to enjoy a day relaxing at Barton Springs Pool and Shakespeare in the Park by Austin Shakespeare. We’ve been doing that for years. (We’ve also seen a number of their indoor productions, from Hamlet to Othello. She also discovered Jane Austen when we went to their production of Pride and Prejudice. And, of course, we went to see Joss Whedon’s interpretation of “Much Ado About Nothing”.) We both agree our favorite Shakespeare in the Park production was their Twelfth Night – Bollywood style.

    She’s graduating and heading off to study neuroscience, but I think she’ll be appalled that only 8% of English majors are required to study Shakespeare. She’s long been frustrated when students at school call Shakespeare “old english”. She’s actually pulled up some youtube recordings of Beowulf to show them what “Old English” actually sounds like. Chaucer provides a good illustration of Middle English. She’s always telling people that Shakespeare is the master of modern English. Yes, Elizabethan English has some archaic forms and words that have changed common connotations over time, but it’s essentially still our same form of English. It’s not all that much more difficult to understand than it is for an American English speaker to understand an Aussie or a Brit. I enjoy listening to her rants after a day of Shakespeare in her AP English classes.

    I also really enjoyed the gifs in the post. Nice touch.

  23. >>>>Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.”<<<<<

    You may be interested in the following:

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/04/30/irate-congressman-gives-cops-easy-rule-just-follow-the-damn-constitution/

  24. Robert F says

    I think you can blame post-modernist deconstruction of the canon of Western literature for the neglect of Shakespeare, and many others, in the universities. That, along with the natural laziness that human beings have about reading anything that requires a little effort, is more than enough to account for this downgrading. After all, if postmodernism is correct and there is as much meaning and depth and beauty in a comic book as in King Lear, why not go with the comic book? Why not stick with the familiar?

    • What you said, Robert. Along with the shift in universities from places of learning to cash cows. You can’t rake in the dollars if you demand too much of your students, or flunk too many of them. Not saying it was perfect back in the day, but a great change did take place in the 60s and 70s, when the huge demographic bulge of young people in the US led to colleges overbuilding, and then later to the necessity of filling up those buildings. And also, the many degree mills that have developed with the internet. Alas, poor Beowulf; I knew him well.

    • Disagree. I think it’s all the arguments about the canon from back in the lste 80s-mid 90s, not deconstructionism, thst is largely responsible for this. Though i also wonder just how many of our generation who’ve been in English prof jobs had a decent education in *English* (vs. Americsn) lit. My suspicion is that the numbers wrre dwindling long before the 80s and 90s.

      Anecdotally, the profs and HS teachers that i had who actually knew Shakespeare wrre getting up there, back in the early-mid 70s. I got the bug from taking a couple of drama courses, and used to cut classes to go to plays during the annual visit of a traveling Shakespeare company (at my undergrad school). I had agood edition of the Complete Works and tried to read all,of the plsys i was going to see before the performances. They mainly did comedies, which means that my education was and is somewhat limited.

      NB: favorite-ever costume is a long, shimmering mantle for Prospero made entirely out of the old-style soda tab pulls. It was full length, or nearly, and you couldn’t tell what they’d actually used to make it unless you wrre *really* close to the stage.

      • Robert F says

        You may be more right than I am, though I think there is causal overlap.

        • Robert F says

          What I mean is that there were already postmodern concerns, which were linked to deconstructionist readings of the canon through a hermeneutic of suspicion, involved in the deliberations about literary canon that occurred in the 80s and 90s, and even before that.

          • I really dislike the term postmodernism, other than as the then-current description of ghe awful architectural pastiches that were current in the 1980s. I don’t think what a lot of evangelicals talk about ss postmodern or postmodernism is grounded in much study ofnhistory or other disciplines.

            It’s a buzzword that has never, imo, had much real meaning attached to it. But then, I’m probably being ovetly cranky about it.

          • Robert F says

            Postmodernism, in literature anyway, is strongly critical of hegemonic meta-narratives, the epitome of which is the idea of literary “canon”. It inherited this political concern about the power interests behind works of literature directly from the deconstructionist hermeneutic of suspicion.

            I’m not merely being critical of such thinking, as evangelicals would; I find it fascinating, and am perfectly willing to consider the idea that some graphic novels may be as profound and beautiful as The Divine Comedy, although I’m unwilling to give up the idea that profundity and beauty are universals rooted in an ultimately true meta-narrative, as obscure as it may be at any given moment.

          • I think it’s worth noting that a lot of the ideas you’re referencing come from Europe, beginning immediately after WWII, when much of the continent was having to try and rebuild (lliterally and figuratively) after the war’s devastation, and while overseas empires were in the process of crumbling.

            I don’t think there is one single, overarching modernist movement, let alone same for so-called postmodernism, though I’m more than willing to look at it *within* various fields and disciplines. Even in the fields i studied formally (art and art history), there was no single modernist movement, but there were and are a huge variety of schools, styles and movements all lumped together under the label “modern.” I am not even sure i could give you a single definition of modrrn or modernism if pressed (in the visual arts). Overall, i tend to think that an awful lot of what is commonly called postmodern is avtually a continuation of modernism in the arts, and in society.

            I don’t like labels, because all too often, they are used in a vety indiscriminate manner. I think that’s the case with applying these terms (ppostmodern and postmodernism) indiscriminately, though i think you’ve got a good point regarding lit crit. I wish i felt able to read and understand lit crit, but it just doesn’t appeal. I feel the same re. 99% of the art criticism out there.

            One thing i think we forget is that Shakespeare’s work (and that of other contemporary playwrights) was popular art, intended for anyone and everyone, from the poorest to the sovereign. When we make it into “-high art,” we miss a lot of its vitality and originality. Do i think his work is among the vety best? Of course! But i do think it isn’t good to anatomise it the way too many scholarly types do. The play’s the thing, after all, and i don’t think the words are intended to be dead on the page, but slive, and in performance at that.

          • Robert, i think the European countries that had big colonial empires wrre guilty of treating themselves as superior to those whom they ruled – -never mind that those people had their own arts, their own cultures, and their own histories. That whole thing got adopted in the US as eell – so i think it’s vital to enlarge the canon, and for all of those other voices to be heard.

            That’s not the same thing as jettisoning the canon, or most of the authors in it, due to their skin color, country of origin or their gender.

        • Robert F says

          Derrida is constantly referred to in those old discussion about canon. The question always being asked was, “Whose power interests does this particular work of literature, which is part of the Western ‘canon’, serve?”

          • I do think that’s a legitimate question.

          • Robert F says

            So do I.

          • Well in Shakespeare’s case it’s the “power interests” of the enlightened and the perceptive. The folks whose point of view should always be privileged.

          • The plays were written for Londoners, rich and poor, powerful and completely lacking in influence. Shskespeare was the son of an artisan, and afaik, he wasn’t toadying to or writing for royalty, nor were Marlowe, Jonson, et. al.

            Further, there are a *lot* of bad kings/rulers in his histories and tragedies. So even when his plays were performed at court, there wasn’t a deliberate attempt to lionize the current sovereigns, unless (aas some posit) Macbeth was intended to legitimize James I’s accession.

            Obviously, Richard III is a bad guy in Shakespeare’s play, but if the ruling class *really* had Shakespeare under their thumb, he would have written some big thing sbout Gloriana (Elizabeth I). But.. he didn’t.

          • Stephen, who sre you referting to re. enlightened snd perceptivez? I think i might be misreading your comment, so any help here would be appreciated.

  25. Damaris says

    Yes, Daniel, I am that person. The second person singular present tense verb ending should be suckest. I suck, thou suckest, he sucketh. I’ll shut up now.

  26. Rick Ro. says

    Bravo again! Wonderful ramblings. Great mix of the inane and satire and seriousness.

  27. I recently went to a local performance of Twelfth Night, in a small local theater. I wished I had dragged my daughter along. She has only read one Shakespeare play in her classes, which was mostly ruined by letting various kids read it in monotone. What I noticed was that any difficulties with the language disappear when you have the visual context to clarify the meaning. Shakespeare was meant to be performed, not just read.

    • Exactly! Skilled actors make the language come alive. It’s pretty ammazing, isn’t it?

      Must note that I’ve been to a couple of productions (professional at that) that wrre every bit as bad as the kids reading in a monotone, though.

  28. Robert F says

    Does the Musea Della Merda have an exhibition of Poop Art?

  29. doubting thomas says

    These memes are a tale told by an idiot. Full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing.

    • I think that applies to most memes, and much of what one finds on the internet in general (present site excluded, of course).

  30. Robert F says

    There is a hymn in Evangelical Lutheran Worships titled “Borning Cry”: it should be terminated, posthaste.

    • Oh, yes.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Bad as “Gather Us In”, the most lightweight Processional Hymn in recorded history?

        • Robert F says

          Yes.

          • The more recent iterations of the ELCA hymnal are, um… less than ideal. I still like the one i was raised on,but it had its own flaws, and is long gone.

    • Robert F says

      I wish they would get rid of “Here I am, Lord”, too.

      Otoh, I love “When in Our Music God is Glorified”.

  31. May I just say that I would love to have that Nash Rambler when I retire to Chincoteague.

    Anyone remember this?

    https://youtu.be/nRDyUIdqnc0

  32. Robert F says

    To meme, or not to meme? That is the question.

  33. “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee (theologically shallow and humanistic)”

    What a crummy assessment of the lyrics

    If that’s humanistic, I don’t know why we’re not all humanists.

    I could see maybe “universalist” in a way with that one line “all who live in love are thine”

    But that hymn’s not going anywhere. Deep and beautiful.

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