"Meaning to write. . .

. . . but curiously unable to do so.”

That was the caption on a greeting card I purchased years ago to send to a friend whom I had cruelly neglected, who had written me several unanswered letters over a period of months. (Who here remembers when there was no internet? Raise your hands!) The illustration on this card was a black and white drawing in a style reminiscent of Edvard Munch that showed a piece of paper and a pen on a table, and, cowering in a corner, a person crouched into a fetal ball.

Sometimes Wetmachine seems to me like that paper on the table. That would make you, Dear Reader, the neglected friend. (Which is odd, since I don’t know who you are and you have not been writing to me –but let that go.)

Nevertheless I have been meaning to write, for these times are a dystopian technoparanoaic’s utopia, it would seem, providing as they do a surfeit of disturbing portents and technophillic delusions as to make finding a Wetmachine daily theme about as difficult as finding sand on a beach.

Anyway, as a place holder, provided with a few links, here is a core-dump of some of the potential themes I’ve been carrying around in my noodle. Perhaps next week, when I’m on vacation at the Jersey Shore, I’ll find a way to distill them into suitable missives into the void:

It seems that the Amazon jungle is in its second year of drought, and that if it goes on more year the Amazon forest could collapse and become a desert, which would accelerate global warming, perhaps to an irreversible point and turning Earth in to Venus.

I read Sam Harris’s “The End of Faith”, about how irrationality embodied in religious dogma–especially religious dogma about ‘the afterlife’– is the greatest threat to continued human existence on earth. I liked the book a lot, despite finding things to quibble with on virtually every page, and I agree with the fundamental argument of the book. Harris goes hard on the “big three” ostensibly monotheistic religions, with Islam appropriately getting the most severe treatment. (I say “ostensibly” monotheistic, because most varients of Christianity, including the Catholicism I grew up with, are clearly polytheistic– despite contortionist arguments to the contrary by its apologitsts).

Although Harris goes into great detail about the horrors of Christianity during the period from Constantine to the Enlightenment, and although he does mention “millennial Christians” as a clear and present danger today, he goes too easy on the death-cult that is modern “Evangelical” “Christianity”. [I put “Christianity” in quotes sometimes, because I’ve said many times before here on Wetmachine, the connection between what is believed by the average USian megachurch-goer who calls himself a Christian and what was taught by Joshua ben Joseph of Nazareth (as reported in the so-called Gospels) is so tenuous as to be non-existent. I mean, I could establish a church of Motherfucking Snakes on a Motherfucking Plane!, and that would have as much connection to the teachings of Jesus as does the typical “Christian” church in Oklahoma. I, like Harris, am sick to death of our cowardly political culture that requires nice-making to “people of faith.” “People of faith” are a threat to me, my children, and human existence on earth. Anybody who looks at this and doesn’t see this needs to have their eyes examined, or maybe their head. Christianity, as commonly understood, is, like Islam, a cult of death wrapped up in a bunch of shibboleths, superstitions, and self-contradictory moral teachings in which having sex with somebody you love is a worse crime than killing someone you hate for no good reason.

Meanwhile Israel, despite having the benefit of Judaism, seems to have taken a collective stupid pill and have become George Bush, using a fire hose to try to put out a magnesium   fire. Although Jewish theology–with its notion of a ‘Chosen People’ as determined by one’s birth mother– is more obnoxious by far than Christian theology, Jewish culture is obviously superior in virtually every way to so-called Christian culture (which accounts for my self-described case of ‘Jew envy’, already chronicled here). To me, the reasons for that seems obvious: Jewish theology is concerned with this life, not the next one. And furthermore, Judaism is not evangelical, which means it’s not a spiritual multilevel marketing scheme like Islam, Christianity, and Mary Kay Cosmetics, which award brownie points to believers for each new believer they can bring into the family. So while its fundamental premise may be obnoxious, we can at least say that Judaism is not a death cult, and has given rise to many of the greatest contributions to human culture in fields as diverse as law, science, music, humor, and sports. So what the fuck is going on in Israel now? Has it complete forgotten its moral reason for existing? Bombing Beirut because you have a problem with Hizbullah? That is the logic of Bin Laden. Of course I understand that Israel is not synnonymous with Jewry. But I think it’s fair to say there’s some overlap.

Here’s my religion, for the record: we need to get to the place spelled out by that genius poet and legendary anti-semite Ezra Pound, who wrote, in one of his Pisan Cantos, “What thou lovest well remains, the rest is dross. What thou lovest well is thy true heritage.” When every person’s heritage is not what they were born into but what they choose, and when what they choose is freely chosen, and is motivated by love and not by a fear of death and fantasies about some pie-in-the-sky, by-and-by, when we die, that’s when we’ll start to get somewhere. That’s my religion. And yes, I know that Pound became a weird, crazy antisemite, not unlike Mel Gibson. But I still like his poetry. And I still like Mad Max.

And of course it’s hot out. About one fuctillion degrees, to quote my favorite rant of all time.

Elsewhere, some RFID makers are, according to Kurzweil’s newsletter, suggesting implanting chips into immigrants and migrant workers, all the better to see you with, my child. The current occupant of the White House has replaced the constitution with “signing statements”, generating a complacent yawn from our pliant media. It seems pretty obvious that the last presidential election was stolen, and that so long as Diebolod machines are used to tabulate votes, there is little a-priori reason to believe in any Republican victory in a close contest. Spain is running out of water. Shall I go on? I have about a fuctillion of these little one-sentence suicide-makers if you want ’em.

Nah, I’ll save ’em for another day.

And in conclusion for now, my friends, let me cite the words of a great sage, some spam-generating program which sent me the following a while back. With its vision of a “Pan-mongolian New world palm martin” despite a “pain-racked peace guild overload circuit breaker” I find it, somehow, strangely comforting.

oxide blue oven-dry Pan-mongolian New world palm marten
monitor bug part-finished mid-forty nailhead spot mole-sighted
mid-oestral mid-wall column oblong-elliptical moon-gazing
pain-racked peace guild overload circuit breaker mist-impelling needle
dam mining claim mountain-girdled
oven-shaped needle spar new-risen

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3 Comments

  1. Harold says:

    My take on the Israel situation here:
    http://osewalrus.livejourna

    And more recently:
    http://osewalrus.livejourna

    As is so often the case, international relations has little to do with religion. As a matter of religion, I regard the fact that God hasn’t wiped Israel off the map for reasons unrelated to what is going on in Lebanon as an act of unbelievable patience and mercy.

    I am a “person of faith” in the sense that I have a faith that I cannot prove logically but believe in absolutely. Inaddition to my religious faith, I have an unshakeable faith in the power of people to remember that they are citizens and free people. I believe that when we remember this, and act upon it, we achieve far more than the cynical would have us believe possible.

    But I cannot prove that, any more than I can prove that there is a God and that he desires me to refrain from eating pork for what is unqoubtedly a good reason.

    I see nothing wrong with faith. To the countrary, faith often allows us to continue when reason fails. My problem is with those who cannot tell the difference between faith and reason, and who therefore do not understand why reasonable people disagree with their faith.

    Glad to see you posting again. Been lonely.

  2. Harold says:

    As for the “obnoxious” premise of Judiasm, is it obnoxious that only people born with certain talents are “chosen” to play in the NBA? The difference is that anoyone who thinks they should be “Chosen” (and I should advise researching what that means, exactly) can decide to convert. I will never get to convert to an NBA star.

    I have no more choice about who and what I am than anyone else, which is the parodox of all and none. I will never be a Cherokee or a descendant of African American slaves, and my life experiences will invairably be different as a result.

    But I can always chose what I do with the hand God has dealt me. I could chose not to be Jewish tomorrow. Simply wake up and stop doing as I’m doing. Wouldn’t make a difference to some folks to whom I will always be Jewish and therefore the source of all the worlds wars or whatever.

  3. John says:

    I have read your livejournal posts and I agree 99.43% with the first and 79.34% with the second. A problem I see is that, now, despite the need to demonstrate to the world that Hibzullah’s approach will not work, there is still the danger of spreading the conflagration to Syria, Iran — and WWIII ensues, etc. So, what to do? I don’t know. But certainly bombing Beirut and all the bridges and infrastructure at the start of this whole business was a disastrous mistake.

    The notion of “chosenness” is only obnoxious to me in the sense that I’m supposed to be one of God’s creatures too, y’know, and so it’s kind of rude of God to consider me less special than he does you. To borrow a phrase, “so what am I, chopped liver?” Did God decide to give NBA players their special talents? Maybe, but to me that seems an unnecessary hypothesis. Chance and DNA suffice, I think. But really, I shouldn’t dwell on it here, lest you think that this doctrine bothers me more than it does.

    I only care about religious beliefs when they become a threat to other people, especially to me and those I care about. So in that context, Muslim beliefs about my place in the world as an infidel DO concern me (whereas Mormon and Jewish beliefs do not), because those beliefs might motivate Muslims to do me harm.

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