is older than it's ever been and now it's even older


Beware the Ides of March

I just finished the Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie. It's quite a good book, so much so that I have something to say about the controversy sparked by it.

First, the issue of the fatwa that put a bounty on Rushdie. This is really sad on so many levels. Nothing written in literature should ever be worth a death sentence for the author; no idea is so powerful that it renders a life void. Worse than that basic problem, the fact is that the portions that supposedly slander Muhammad are absolutely taken out of context. A huge portion of the book is separating madness from revelation, exposing the falseness of dichotomies, as it were. When you read a book, you consider the history and statements the author makes within the solipsistic world of the narrative. It seems obvious to me that there is zero historic relevence meant by these passages, at least within this narrow context.

Second, I know that those who condemn this book have never read it. This is the sort of anti-intellectualism that makes it impossible for most thinking people to countenance religion in our world. I find it difficult to blame Islam for this; there are plenty of other religions that put orthodoxy before thinking, valuing sheep-like following over exercising the cognitive capabilities that the creator(s) they value supposedly endowed us with. There is a recurring theme within SV that is deeply threatening to religion, but I bet no mullah has ever discovered it, because they were too busy condemning the book via hearsay to actually read it. That theme is the distrust of absolutism; the inability to say with any reasonable certainty the truth of someone being Good and another being Evil. Without dualism, what is any monotheism? It's really sad to consider that life isn't as simple as most sheep herding religionists would have you think, but that's exactly what Rushdie indicates via his sublime narrative. No character is presented as absolutely good, or bad either. To some degree, every bad character has a redemption, and every good character has a moment of weakness. That's just how life is.

It's worth a read.

I'll be watching NCAA basketball tonight

The true story of a message in a bottle that led to a pen pal relationship. Someone needs to write an application that sends an email to a random address so we can do that in cyberspace (since I'm quite far from an ocean).

Nearly 150 years later, now someone in the North wants to secede from the South? Wow. Another issue worth an above the fold bloggage. I've been collecting material on the Northern hatred of the South for a while. It's been so long since I've done a Special Edition (the Orange Bowl was the last one), this one will be huge. If I can finish it. Well, anyway, this jerk blames the South for the downfall of the Democratic party, anti-progressiveness, etc. etc. Ever heard of Ronald Reagan?

Finally, every year the US State Department issues condescending little reports on every country's human rights records. Ever wonder what the US's would look like? China has done just that. And it's all true, if full of spin.


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