10:15 on Thursday night

Quick updates in case you missed them in the other spots:

  • Great weekend in DC. Met a new old friend. Walked. Ate. Pictures to follow.
  • Quite wonderful show Monday night in Raleigh with Tokyo Police Club (been obsessed for a couple of years), Said the Whale (been amused for a couple of months), and Geographer (I didn’t dislike them but they were an odd addition to this lineup).
  • Still pondering a major road trip in August.
  • Next week’s exciting destination: a conference presentation in (hold on…) Columbia, South Carolina!
  • Planning to buy a new desktop in the next few weeks. And a new bathroom.
  • Major project winding down and hoping I’ll be maybe a little less overextended for the next year and I can focus a bit more on both the websites rather than just on the short attention span posts.


Just forgiven


“Christians aren’t perfect…just forgiven.”

That bumper sticker is one of those little things that years ago pushed me over the edge into atheism. It’s as if the whole message comes down to “As a Christian, I don’t have to take any responsibility for my own actions. I can pretty much do whatever the hell I want as long as I pray for forgiveness precisely one second before I die.” It’s like there’s a coupon for heaven and you’re all set as long as you hit the expiration date and follow the fine print.

Yes, I know this does not really reflect what most Christians believe, but it’s pretty much the impression I absorbed through my own pretty strenuous religious indoctrination as a youngster and I guarantee you a lot of other nonbelievers absorb this very same message. Let’s just say these stickers (and this particular message) may not be the effective outreach tools they’re meant to be.

More troubling, though, is that so many within the Christian right seem to be asserting a similar dismissal of personal responsibility in the public arena these days, suggesting that anything they say or do should have no repercussions whatsoever just as long as they’re “expressing their beliefs”.

One recent example is the very earnestly conservative talk show host in Texas who recently walked off the set when her more liberal colleagues said things she didn’t like. Granted, this show doesn’t seem to advance an especially high level of discourse on either side of the spectrum–the two “liberal” hosts kept using the word “racist” when they clearly meant “prejudiced”, for example–but it is illustrative of a bigger issue among mainstream religious conservatives. If Amy Kushnir is disciplined for this–and I very much doubt she will be–you can be sure this segment of the population will be up in arms because of the old paper tiger that she was persecuted for “expressing her Christian beliefs” rather than for the real issue: she behaved unprofessionally and abandoned her job by walking off the set in the middle of a live broadcast.

Think about it. If a cashier at Walmart or Target abandoned a line of customers at his register because one of these customers said something or bought a product he disagreed with, everyone would expect him to be fired or at least disciplined. Even the cashier himself would see it coming from a mile away. Can’t we expect at least the same level of accountability from someone who has made her way into a career as a public figure? Evidently not, if she’s “forgiven” and probably doesn’t even recognize that she did anything inappropriate or unprofessional in the first place.

I find it hilarious to watch today’s conservatives morph into the very same whiny victims they used to criticize liberals for being…and to see how quickly they abandon the whole “personal responsibility” thing they allegedly valued so strongly in the past.

Two countries, one street

Two Countries, One Street by Jean Palardy, National Film Board of Canada

OK, so I have to visit Derby Line and Stanstead and drive down rue Canusa. I’m sure things are a little tighter now than they were fifty or sixty years ago but I’m quite fascinated by the place.

And you have to watch the movie, if only to see the very low-key snow-covered chase scene at the end and hear the Mounties yell, “Stop in the name of the queen!”