Today's guestpost is by Jonny Scaramanga who blogs at Leaving Fundamentalism. One of Jonny's areas of expertise is the teaching of creationists and he is perhaps the leading authority on the problems of ACE home school curriculum and learning systems, which teach creationism. On his blog, he also deals with other aspects of Fundamentalist Christianity. Be sure to visit there; it is one of my favorites.
I have a mixed relationship with London. It’s crowded by people who seem to think that I want to be hit repeatedly by their back pack. It’s full of stunningly breath-taking architecture, cathedrals to the gods of shopping, privelege, commerce and religion and breath-taking ugliness celebrating public service and poverty. It exploits a crass consumerist culture, pimping bawdy trinkets and cheap plastic goods to sheeple who want whatever branded product is on offer and sprinkled with some of the finest examples of artisan crafts from bakeries to silversmiths, from suits to homewares. It packs thousands of people into a small space and boasts large open spaces full of greenery and beautiful bodies of water. It celebrates fame and privilege in some of the most opulent surroundings, and traps the poorest in society in some of the drabbest estates.
I was expecting – hoping – to see these conflicts and contrasts reflected in the displays at the Museum of London. And to an extent, the museum does touch on these juxtapositions, but perhaps not in the ways one might expect.
Iain (M) Banks has died. If you’ve never read Culture (with the M) or his other fiction (without) you’ve missed out on one of Scotland’s finest writers.
Culture is a hybrid, liberal in the far future, in a world where humanity (in the loosest sense of the term) has exceeded it’s biological limitations. As with all scifi, he uses Culture to explore contemporary issues, but also to explore possibilities. He uses – used – a range of forms, and perspectives to explore his speculative realities in ways which surprise, delight and engross you, the reader. He transported me, a scifi veteran, to worlds I hadn’t imagined by ships which have personalities I fear may not be far off mine. When you identify with a ship, you know the author is something special.
If you want to read him, start with Consider Phlebas.
I shall leave by recalling the names of Culture ships; not only because they are in every sense his biggest creations, but because, I suspect, they were the deepest reflections of his character.
- Prosthetic Conscience
- Irregular Apocalypse
- Screw Loose
- Just Read The Instructions
- Cargo Cult
- Kiss My Ass
- Very Little Gravitas
- Size Isn’t Everything
- I Thought He Was With You
- Grey Area (aka Meatfucker)
- Zero Gravitas
- Resistance Is Character-Forming
- We Haven’t Met, But You’re A Great Fan Of Mine
- Pride Comes Before A Fall
- Experiencing A Significant Gravitas Shortfall
- It’s My Party And I’ll Sing If I Want To
- Lightly Seared On The Reality Grill
- Falling Outside The Normal Moral Constraints
- Questionable Ethics
- Refreshingly Unconcerned With the Vulgar Exigencies of Veracity
- Displacement Activity
He named the following ships when another culture criticised the lack of gravitas when ships named themselves:
- Stood Far Back When The Gravitas Was Handed Out
- Gravitas, What Gravitas?
- Gravitas… Gravitas… No, Don’t Help Me, I’ll Get It In A Moment…
- Gravitas Free Zone
- Low Gravitas Warning Signal
- Absolutely No You-Know-What
When asked if she thanked the Lord for her family’s safety, the young survivor, while holding her 19 month old happy son, answered Wolf Blitzer’s absurd question with poise and honesty. She practically giggled, “I’m actually an atheist.”
I on the other hand, picture my response to that same question, going very differently.
Wolf: We’re happy you’re here. You guys did a great job.
The amazingly inane Tory backbenchers' straw-clutching objection to same-sex marriage:
But it'll mean bigots might not be able to act out their bigotry any more!
This is a downside?
Some of the rhetoric around equal marriage has been pretty offensive, but all too often the people speaking don’t think they’re being homophobic. Here are three examples of statements where the person is trying to distance themselves from homophobia whilst simultaneously making homophobic arguments.
After reading one of Jonny’s posts over at Leaving Fundamentalism earlier, I felt moved to write a fairly strong and personal response. However, it’s not my normal fare and I didn’t have the happiest of childhoods. Some of what I write is a little raw, and it makes reference to abuse which some may find distressing.
So, consider yourself warned and proceed if you want.