Responsibility and Retribution
The ceaseless chain of lies, miscalcalculations, and stunningly consistent ineptitude is, of course, the work of the Bush Administration, acting through its people and the federal instrumentalities they control; but while I am here, while I choose to remain a citizen, I do so only as the weak yet loyal opposition, "loyal" because I cower at the prospect of what would happen to me were I to display a degree of disloyalty that would trigger punitive measures by federal law enforcement agencies that have let it be known to the world and to the citizenry of this country of a brutality the government is now willing to carry out. I am honestly amazed by how easy it was to subjugate this country, and I am in no small measure appalled by how easy it has been to drive me to circumscribe any expression of my revulsion at what my leadership has been doing.
I can take only short comfort in telling myself that this awful time will surely pass and the rule of law will again prevail, but such self-forgiving platitudes offer the comfort of a lie: I know nothing of the kind about the eventual prevalence of the "rule of law," for I know that the rule of law never prevailed fully before the Bush Administration; and far worse, I know very well that an extremist Right-wing Supreme Court will, for a generation to come, be contorting the rules animating federal law to the advantage of the strong, to the benefit of the powerful, and to the end of crushing what little had been gained over the past half-century as far as civil rights are concerned. I also know that virtually no candidate for President in 2008 is going to stray far from the emergent unitary executive doctrine because no Congress can convene anymore with the spine to derail the authority consolidating in the Executive Branch. I also know that databases never die, and the masses of information being collected, sorted, analyzed, and used by both the government and private organizations are not going to be deleted on some happy January morning in 2009.
As a free society, we have been permanently damaged. I cannot change what has already happened, and I cannot find a voice loud enough, convincing enough, or forceful enough to turn the tide of a future history already written.
It is certainly the case that many people, perhaps a majority in both 2000 and 2004, did not vote for Mr. Bush. Moreover, to hold all Americans accountable (myself included) for what has become a 21st Century horror story in Iraq is to trivialize, if not utterly dismiss, the condemnation that has persisted for so long from so many voices on the Left. I would defeat my essential purpose as a political analyst were I simply to cut down or otherwise demean the enormous, earnest, and well-considered political and social warriors who have fought so hard and sacrificed so much, despite how futile such efforts have been and will, I would argue, continue to be. I have no taste for the thuggish ways of Right-wing commentators who defend their indefensible declarations by merely shouting down those who take exception to their thinking. It serves no good purpose for me to deliberately inflame intellectual passions only to wreck them in the course of strengthening my own. That does not mean, however, that I shall not on occasion press my thesis, if for no other reason than to see how well it endures strongly adverse contention.
Comments posted on the article "Details and Devils" in the cross-post at Big Brass Blog included one that expressed the heart of the criticism of the thesis I have set forth about the individuating character of collective responsibility. In edited form, below is that comment:
I refuse to shoulder one iota of blame for the... bloody tragedy in Iraq. I cried out against it from the getgo, I shouted out against the installment of these amoral fuckwits who created it. It's THEY who are to take the responsibility. And their extremities must be held to the fire.To the end of pressing my case, I herewith reprint in edited and substantially expanded form my response, knowing full well as I do that this is by no means a refutation of the criticism of my thesis, but rather only an expansionalbeit perhaps inflammatoryof what I wrote originally. To that modest end, then, it stands for the time being as the last I shall write on the matter.
Including Tony Blair, whose own country had experience in the sands of the Middle East about 100 years ago, which he... bloody well knew about.
It's absolutely astounding that anyone can say, oh, it's time for the Iraqis to "get behind the wheel." Good fucking grief. Cheney and his puppet Bush broke the vehicle. Would that there were some way to make them do lifetime community service in Iraq, or until they are dead.
Those words speak to the essential, long-term problem we face. I rest in self-assurance that retribution against us will come. That is the way of history, and the United States will not escape punishment from those who have suffered under the rule of Empire. It matters not one bit whether we decide to leave and forgive ourselves, to grant our individual consciences clemency for a world wounded deeply by our misguided sense of just revenge.
Perversely, this is the rightful way of the rule of law. What the individual thinks of his personal responsibility is irrelevant. Acts adjudicated under law are measured by the facts of the case at trial, and punishment for the guilty is without mercy for some circumstance that makes an otherwise heinous crime something else. This is so even for thoseperhaps especially for thosewho think, feel, or know to the bottom of their soul that they are blameless.
The bitterness of Middle Easterners will not be shed only upon those who stood fast with George W. Bush. In the eyes of the victimized who turn to retributive violence, those citizens who opposed him from the very beginning will stand every bit as blameworthy as those who held fast to him and his policies until the very last day of his Presidency. That's how it will work. That's how the ancient rite of vengeance comes to expression. To paraphrase a young rabbi from several millennia past, the rain will fall equally upon the righteous and the unrighteous.
The United States, its people, its assets, and its interests will be punished. To put it in the bluntest terms possible, we are very likely to get hammered. Whether or not you, I, our friends, our families, our political allies, or those we care about "deserve" it has no bearing. That new crop of "terrorists" of the future we are now cultivating from Baghdad to Jakarta, from Punjab to the Caucasusthose who will exact their brand of justice at the behest of their psychotic religious leadersthey will not take the time to distinguish between Americans who condemned Bush and those who did not.
Payback will be indiscriminate. My repeated, documented, unwavering condemnation of Bush and the neo-cons will not save me from the wrath of those who have been wronged. I could wear a sign with bright red lettering on it that read: "I DID NOT SUPPORT BUSH. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR 650,000 DEAD IRAQIS!" and it would make not a bit of difference to a terrorist suicide bomber who was bent on killing Americans because his family was wiped out in a botched raid some company of Marines did in his neighborhood.
It's not going to matter to him or her.
Look with appropriate horror upon the picture at left. The little girl clutching the blanket and shrieking is a Palestinian child whose family had just been butchered by artillery rounds while picnicing on a beach. The Israeli Defense Forces cynically sneered that the massacre was by Palestinians shooting at IDF gunboats that were attacking a legitimate target.
Whatever. That little girl could very well one dayone day very soonbe a suicide bomber who will walk into a lovely, modern, Western-style shopping mall in Tel Aviv and blow herself and a bunch of Israelis to Kingdom Come. Who here believes she will ask those who condemn the IDF killing machine to please leave before she sends herself and her victims to Hell?
Of course she won't ask. Her victims' politics will not matter and that's because her politics did not matter when her mom, dad, and siblings were sent to the fiery slaughterhouse. The Israelis, both those who support the ungodly acts of their government and those who absolutely do not, pay the price together.
So, too, will we. We will pay because we're Americans, and America was the nation that did the unspeakable damage in Iraq. We are Americans, so we will, in our individual lives, run the risk of our share of collective punishment. Take a good, hard look at the little girl at right: she's an Iraqi wounded profoundly in an American military attack. So help me God, if that were my child, I would spend the rest of my days hunting down any member of the tribe that did what was done to her and her siblings.
But I am a member of the tribe that will be hunted. Collectively, we have no exit that does not involve a lot of our own blood, both now and for generations to come. If we continue this brutal, violent, unproductive monstrosity that is the American-Iraqi Warand despite the lies of cowardly Democrats to the contrary, we probably will, at least for quite a while longerwe will merely postpone, but only to some extent, our own days and generations of reckoning with the aftermath. When we leave, we shall in the event have let slip, and ever so quietly at first, the dogs of retributive war upon us for what we have done.
Guilty or not; supporter or opponent of the neo-cons; morally blind, flag-waving pseudo-patriot or hardened, America-hating Leftist; contemplative conservative or moderate liberal, we shall all stand before the bar of the rough justice of the ages that transcends our modern, delicate sensibilities.
The American victims of terrorist attacks have found that out as they have individually paid the ultimate price: while they bore no individual responsibility for the awful history of Western actions in the Middle East, yet there they were, paying dearly and in finality because that's how the cruelty of street justice would have it. The Hegelian theoretical chalkboard scrawl about historical inevitability is a real pain in the backside when it jumps off the philosophy department seminar table and into fire and shrapnel at the corner of Fifth and Main.
We Americans are all about "taking responsibility," and our very own justice system is brutally efficient at playing fancy games with legal logic to wreck the lives of people who are nothing more than victims of the circumstances of their lots in life. Imagining that this is somehow an aberration of "who we really are as a people" is nothing more than an excuse for avoiding some really, really awful truths about us: we aren't God's chosen, we aren't "fundamentally good people," we aren't better than what we look like in this moment.
And to that same point, whether we like it or not, we really areall of usthe ones there in Baghdad, the ones in al-Anbar province, the ones in Fallujah, the ones all over Iraq who started this mayhem down the path it is now taking into Hell. I can scream bloody murder at the outrage of it all, but that's not going to bring back the dead, not one of them, not a single one of my fellow soldier-citizens, not a single little Iraqi girl or boy; and unless I'm willing to repudiate my nation, surrender my citizenship, perhaps even go so far as to take real and deliberate action against the Republicans and their spineless Democratic enablers, I am every bit as guilty as those who will want to hurt me think I am.
How do I know that? That's easy: I am in the line of future fire, just like every other American.
Will I let them hurt me? No, of course not. I will do whatever I must to survive; and most decidedly, I will not shy from declaring that I am a citizen of the United States of America, however much I might be hated from now on in the rest of the world for making that claim without reservation. My own, personal apology to the world isn't going to change anything about that, not with those who have been wronged, those who are deranged criminals, those who are ideological nutcases, or those whose loved ones are dead and gone because of what we've done.
I will vote, I will write, I will speak, and I will act as one outraged by what this Administration has done. But in all of those things that I will do, I will know this much for certain: if I am not the victim of some retributive act of vengeance, it will not be because of all the righteous, noble things I've done on behalf of peace, justice, and rectitude.
It will be because I got lucky.
The Dark Wraith will now accept certain and well-deserved criticism for this editorial.
An Upcoming Republication
Although I have exhausted all means of which I know to locate this article in published form on the server or even in cache on the Internet, I shall not declare with absolute certainty that the article has been purposely and maliciously deleted; however, that appears very likely to be the case, and if so, it is the second instance of which I am aware of an article of mine having been removed when this Weblog was being hosted by Blogger. In the other instance, I quickly caught the deletion, which was executed simultaneously at both The Dark Wraith Forums and at Big Brass Blog, both of which were, at the time, published under Blogger. (The later article was published as an exclusive at The Dark Wraith Forums.) As a general rule, and especially after the first incident, the one I immediately caught, I keep a text-based copy of every article I write.
Of course, now that none of the Websites of Dark Wraith Publishing are in any way associated with any division of Google, I can publish without concern for potential problems arising from mysteriously disappearing articles.
Tonight, I am endeavoring to re-insert the original article somewhere close to its chronological place of original publication. Whether or not I am successful in that regard remains to be seen since the legacy archives of this Website are now, for all intents and purposes, static HTML pages that are difficult to alter without causing major disruption to their original appearance, which I have tried to retain. Whether or not I succeed in republishing the original piece, on Thursday, May 31, 2007, I shall publish an updated version of the original post, doing so to create, to the extent possible, a continuity in the chain of argument I began last year and continued in the article "Remembering Shelby."
For those who have been readers of my articles for some time, the next article I publish will look somewhat familiar, although I will have updated it somewhat. As fair warning, it was a rather strident piece, with sharply critical references not just to the United States, but also to one of our closest allies, a nation whose actions have made it not merely a worldwide symbol of repression, but also a frightful signpost pointing the way to our own future.
Were the Dark Wraith a conspiracy theorist, he would strongly suspect that the original of the upcoming article was deleted because of its brutally harsh references to that other country; but the Dark Wraith is certainly notand never has been nor ever will bea conspiracy theorist.
I have touched before on this matter of responsibility for the future of Iraq, and it strikes me that the problem we face is as deep as any possible within the experience of a nation that has committed wrong. We simply cannot stay; and yet to leaveto wash our collective hands of that destroyed place and leavespeaks worlds about us as a people. I keep hearing a refrain that deeply troubles me; its sub-text is almost of the form, "This wasn't my war," or even, "Bush isn't my President." I recall that the latter was almost verbatim the attack upon me quite awhile back in a comment thread wherein I suggested a profound moral dilemma was at hand. I wanted to respond ferociously, to the extent of demanding to know why, if the United States had strayed so far from sensibilities, people chose to stay here, thereby picking and choosing that for which they could feel comfortable in bearing blame; but then it occurred to me that I needed to deal with myself instead of expending incendiary, probative demands upon others.
Upon introspection, for me and for me alone, it was quite clear: George W. Bush is and has been, despite my abiding revulsion of him and all he represents, my president, as awful as that fact is. The United States of America is my country, and it is that country, the one I decline to depart, that began, prosecuted, and finally lost a pre-emptive war of aggression in Iraq. It is I, through the vessel of the United States armed forces, who did this. It is most decidedly not some "they"; not some "that"; not "some evil people." If my nation has a black, soul-absent place wherefrom lashes out the occasion of unjust war, torture, murder, and even genocide, I must be cautious that I have not seen writ large upon an undeserving world the mirror pool looking into a place within myself I would hate every bit as much as I hate what this country is doing to others.
But that's just me. I would honestly not wish this kind of introspective blame-laying upon another living soul. It's just awful to feel this way.
I shall, then, change the subject, but only from the personal present to a personal past, a permanently troubling memory I want to share.
Years ago, one of my cousins, a man who, like most in my family at the time, had little money, went out to the woods of the old family homestead to hunt for food. In his haste and lack of experience, he accidentally shot someone's big pet dog that was running through a thick stand of pine trees.
The dog was horribly wounded but still alive, suffering wildly. My cousin had no money to pay a vet, and he didn't know to whom it belonged. He was simply mortified by what he had done, and he couldn't stand what he was seeing. He was the kind of country boy who just adored dogs. He wasn't cut out to be a hunter by any means: that bleeding mess he ran up to and stood over just tore him up inside.
He ran away. He got in his truck, and he left.
It was only days later that he told my brother, Dan, about it. Dan and I went to the woods and found the dog. It was dead, of course. It had dragged itself for quite a ways, almost reaching the fence line to the back of the property of the family who'd moved in up the hill the previous Spring. The dog was theirs, as we learned when we went to inquire.
The gentleman of the house went out with us to where their beloved animal had finally closed its eyes and died, and the man asked something to the effect, "What kind of person would just shoot a dog and then leave it to crawl around suffering? Why didn't he do something?"
My brother, something of an unintentionally ironic man, answered, "Looks to me like he did. He up and left."
By then, the owner's daughter had come out and seen what we were standing over. She cried that kind of cry that doesn't make much noise; it sort of comes out like soft, sobbing jerks. Her dad picked up the dogits name was "Shelby," I thinkand cradled it in his arms. His daughter clutched its bloody hind legs as the two of them walked back up the hill to their place.
It was only after the fellow had lifted the dog up that I could tell the round had hit it in the left hind thigh. A bad wound, but the kind that can be fixed, especially on a big healthy dog.
The dog had bled to death.
The Dark Wraith is finished with his story, now.
Memorial Day 2007
Continuum of War
This graphic may be reposted with attribute (with smaller, 325x229, graphic available here.)
Democrats against War: The Color Portrait
This graphic may be reposted with attribute (with smaller, 325x313, graphic available here. Alternate background coloration in the graphic is available in the cross-post at Big Brass Blog.)
The Hidden Cost of Immunity Deals
Congressional Democrats are quickly going to learn that coddling low-level criminals with grants of immunity from prosecution is a slippery slope, where potential indictees at progressively higher levels smell prosecutorial weakness and desperation, playing it to their advantage.
The Congressmen handing out immunity deals might not understand how it works quite yet, but maybe at least a few of them will when they're voting on immunity to get George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to testify at their own impeachment trials.
Politics, War, and a Note on the Linguistics of Cowardice
What may be a broadening disgust at the Democrats elected to Congress just last November could be expressed in any number of ways. Below is an edited and augmented version of my commentin effect, mirroring the trifling attitude of the Democrats, themselvesmade yesterday, May 21, 2007, on a thread from an article at BlondeSense.
When I was a child, we had a particular word we used for a coward:
The more the insulter jutted his face forward, and the longer the vowel sound was held, the deeper the sentiment attached and the more important it was to the speaker that the person being so insulted grasp the depth of disgust being thusly conveyed.
Yes, Democrats in Congress, this is not merely the typical invective that could be mistaken for some ritualistic, friendly challenge two youngsters might exchange in times of sportsmanlike gamesmanship; this is, instead, the "Wuuuuuuus" of utter disdain for you, the summary declaration of the thoroughly decayed state of your willpower.
You cannot muster the courage to stop a war that was begun with wholesale lies, has been prosecuted with rampant incompetence, and is being held together at increasing peril to the very capacity of our armed forces to deal with genuine threats to our security. With that lack of moral fortitude on the table like a glaring neon sign advertising the pre-vertebrate nature of your calamari-only sushi bar and faux-progressive dinner theatre, it is all too clear that you will never muster the strength of heart to impeach either President George W. Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney. More damning of your stewardship of the Legislative Branch is that the certainty of this inaction comes not because you fear a backlash either from the American electorate or even from our men and women in arms; rather, it comes from the fact that you Democrats are afraid of Messrs. Bush and Cheney. You fear them. You really do. Hence, without any intent to humor or good-natured jabbing, I reduce youin fact, I disparage youwith the time-honored charge, bawled loudly so all can hear:
That's right; you heard me:
Given that the nationally elected Democrats have chosen by their fear of this President to marginalize themselves, I should probably set forth for readers a few thoughts on the word that so captures their essence; and I do so with the stated intention of further marginalizingindeed, trivializingthem. Instead of wasting space defending my use of the term "wuss" to denigrate them, I shall extend to readers here a few thoughts on the etymology of the word, itself, returning briefly at the end of this article to conjoin word meaning, usage, and valence in the context of simpering Democrats who merit far less than the exposition on linguistics with which I herewith proceed.
I was always under the impression that "wuss" was a reduced determinative compounding of the words "wimp" and "puss." The former word, on its own, does not carry a sufficiently high degree of acrimony, being more of a mildly harsh, descriptive noun, while the latter word carries too much potential for interpretation as obscenity. As is typical of young people throughout the ages in their use of strong language, I was under the impression that the obscene definition of "puss" was invented in my own generation. I was disabused of that by watching the 1970s British comedy Are You Being Served, in which double-entendres involving the word "pussy" were a staple always good for a laugh. Thus was I informed that people far older than I had facility in the vulgar use of the word "puss" and its derivatives.
However, returning to the matter of the wusses in Congress, we must address the matter of plurality. Many are the congressional Democrats who have yet to find anything even remotely akin to the testicular structural formalism so greatly valued in Western literature and, indeed, cinematic entertainment. The obvious question, then, is such: What, exactly, is the plural of "wuss"? Above, you will note that I used "wusses" to describe a multiplicity of them; but should we not consider the possibility that, if the Romans understood—perhaps even pressed into service—this derogatory term, would they not have used the appropriate Latin conventionin the present matter, "wi"to describe the many, each of whom was individually a "wuss"? It is certainly the case that second-declension Latin nouns ending in -us have as their plurals the replacement of the -us with -i.
One wuss, many wi.
"Ah-hah!" the reader must be thinking, "this cannot possibly be correct since there is an extra -s on the end of "wuss," so the plural would not be formed by dropping the -s and adding -i to form the correct pluralization."
I would respond that the incidence of that second -s might be merely an artifact of the word having been carried to modern form from "puss," which was possibly spelled "pus," but pronounced differently from the oozy yellow stuff that comes out of infected wounds. In Modern English, as was the case in its older forms, Old English and Middle English, when two words look or sound too much alike, speakers and writers will have a tendency to force spelling and (especially) sonic differences upon them. Old English speakers adopted the Norse word "egg" because their own word sounded too much like other words having completely different meanings. A great modern example of this can be found in the words "boy" and "buoy": people will go to all sorts of oral gyrations to make the latter word sound quite different from the former, even though they really needn't.
In the present case, the extra -s on "puss" is quite possibly artifactual; hence, "wuss" is really just a modern spelling of "wus," so the totality of the spineless Democrats in Congress, moving as they would in herd-like formation (lest they be picked off at the flanks by predatory Right-wing talk-show hosts) merit the drive-by insult as such:
Unfortunately, those same Democrats would probably figure that the person conveying said invective was nothing but a gamer promoting the latest revolution in online entertainment. That assumes, of course, that legislative types, be they of any political stripe, have some minimal grasp of the Information Age, an assumption probably far too generous given their insularity and their almost uniform training as lawyers rather than as productive citizens.
It's a complicated world, made even more so by the intersection of post-modern politics and the linguistics of the spoken word forever in transition from older to more modern form and modalities of communication. In the breach, however, we must retain hope, not so much that the congressional Democrats will ever be anything other than cowards, but that we, ourselves, in our continuing efforts to speak truth to power, may understand the linguistic underpinnings of the insults we issue forth to those spineless men and women who fear a miserable cabal led by a mendacious President. It is, then, to the end of both catharsis and informative narrative that I once againand this time with exclamatory releasesay to each of the Democrats in Congress:
The Dark Wraith has spoken.
Bible in Blue
Fortunately, Liz came to the rescue with the now-famous BlondeSense Friday Sex Post, a regularly scheduled event that seems quite popular over there. It's not like your host here at The Dark Wraith Forums would, for his own part, ever find anything concerning sex worthy of topical interest, not with the intellectual crowd that hangs out around here, and certainly not with the host's own utter disinterest in all things of that salacious kind. However, from a purely historical and religious perspectivemy interest in both history and upright religiosity being well knownLiz's "Friday Sex Post: The Bible" caught my attention. As Liz points out from recent news:
Hong Kong residents have called the decency of the bible into question due to its sexual and violent content and would like it to be classified as "indecent"...Now, call me finicky, but I just can't get particularly worked up about guys with giant beards getting it on with girls or guys or select livestock or any reasonably high-quality commercial device, motorized or otherwise (probably otherwise, given the antiquity of most biblical stories). However, the Holy Bible does offer an extraordinary variety of sex-related stories, vignettes, and allusions. One of the better glosses of Bible sex on the Internet can be found at X-Rated Bible verses. In my continuing efforts to deliver informative online content here at The Dark Wraith Forums (and with no small degree of contrite apology for what follows), I herewith offer an improved version of content from several sites, including X-Rated Bible verses: several citations at the aforementioned Website are incorrect, and in some cases the references being made are specific to the King James Version of the Holy Bible. In what follows, I offer a link for every passage, usually electing the more modern New International Version. However, in some cases, I link instead to the King James Version because both the translation is truer to original writers' intended meanings and the way of conveying the point being made is blunter. Below each passage, I offer a brief comment of my own. All citation links are to the marvelous Website, BibleGateway.com, which offers a number of versions of the Bible in more than a few modern languages. It's my favorite Bible site, although they might prefer I leave them alone after they see this post.
Indeed the bible is a sexy and violent book...
Anyway, brace yourselves; the juicy parts of the Good Book are now open for review.
◊ Genesis 17:9-14 | God mandates circumcision for all eight-day-old males.
•• HEL-lo! This book is already starting off way too damned butch for my literary tastes. ••
◊ Genesis 19:1-8 | The holy guy invites a gang to rape his two virgin daughters instead of the two male angels who are his house guests.
•• No way, man! Those angel guys use the professional skin-care products. ••
◊ Genesis 19:30-38 | Righteous man impregnates his two daughters while drunk.
•• S-s-s-sluts! That poor guy was probably totally messed up when he got sober and realized what had been done to his soggy old man-parts. ••
◊ Genesis 24:2-3, 9 | Place your hand "under the thigh" of someone when swearing sacred oaths.
•• That'll get those 'sacred oaths' a-flowin'! ••
◊ Genesis 25:1-6 | Keeping mistresses is not adultery.
•• Maybe not, but it might be suicide when your wife finds out, Sparky. ••
◊ Genesis 32:25 | God shrivels Jacob's ass-half right in the tender part.
•• FOUL! I don't care if football hadn't been invented yet; that's still a foul, man! ••
◊ Genesis 34:1-31 | Genocide as revenge for the rape of a sister, swapping daughters like cattle, and a whole lot of pillaging; but no sex for the guy who isn't circumcised.
•• Cripe, this could be some Hollywood script. ••
◊ Genesis 35:22 | Reuben, the son of Jacob, humps dad's concubine, Bilhah.
•• BAD Reuben... BAAAAD Reuben! And why the Hell is that woman making you lunch, now?! ••
◊ Genesis 38:1-10 | Onan's method of birth control met with disapproval from God, so God killed him.
•• Well, yeah, 'specially 'cuz the boy told his wife it was body lotion. ••
◊ Genesis 38:12-30 | Tamar pretends she's a shrine prostitute to seduce her former father-in-law: he offers her a goat, but she'd rather have the staff.
•• Dang! but there's an Emmy award in there for the girl, by crackie. ••
◊ Genesis 39:1-23 | The wife of the master wants to ride the "handsome and well-built" but trustworthy slave, he turns her down over and over again, so she says he tried to rape her, yada-yada-yada.
•• This story is so lame it wouldn't even make it onto the Jerry Springer show these days. ••
◊ Genesis 47:29 | Joseph ordered to place his hand under father's thigh.
•• See, now that's just nasty. ••
◊ Exodus 20:26 | God specifies building of altar to prevent exposure of nakedness.
•• The people were all ugly when they were nude, so it was a good thing God did. ••
◊ Exodus 22:19 | Bestiality is declared a capital crime.
•• And the sheep didn't fare so well, either, y'know ••.
◊ Exodus 33:17-23 | Moses can look at God's back side, but not his face.
•• Jeez, and I thought I was the only one who saw backsides but not faces. ••
◊ Numbers 31:1-18; 28-47 | God commands genocide of Midianites, Moses orders his soldiers to butcher all the captives, except that they can keep the virgins for themselves.
•• Well, duh, they didn't have payroll back then. ••
◊ Numbers 5:11-31 | The decreed fidelity test for women includes drinking poison.
•• And the fidelity test for guys includes having beer and watching strippers. ••
◊ Leviticus 12:1-8 | A woman who has given birth is unclean, and there's something about giving birth to females being worse than giving birth to males.
•• Yeah, wait until the teenage years and see how much you regret not killing the males when they were young. ••
◊ Leviticus 15:16-18 | Sperm is nasty; guys need to wash after popping the nut, and they need to wash anything that the stuff landed on. The guy needs to wash afterward, and so does the woman if there was one involved in the relief effort.
•• But what do you tell her if she honestly thinks it's hand lotion? ••
◊ Leviticus 15:19-33 | Menstruation is really, really nasty, so there must be very complicated rules to deal with all the nastiness.
•• Rule 1: These days, leave the woman alone about the rules, or she'll beat your sorry ass so bad you'll think you're having a period, dude. ••
◊ Leviticus 15:29-30 | Menstruation is a sin, so women have to provide offerings of doves or pidgeons for their discharge.
•• Here's a better one: Tampon ceremoniously dropped into toilet; Expanding Divine Clog scares the crap out of the guy trying to take a leak in the dark. ••
◊ Leviticus 18:22 | Homosexuality is detestable.
•• Unless it's Republican homosexuality; then it'll get you a job as a minister or a congressional aide. ••
◊ Leviticus 18:23 | Women shouldn't present themselves to animals for the purpose of having sex.
•• Thank God! Mr. Ed would have been serious competition. ••
◊ Leviticus 19:1,20-22 | If a guy pumps his slave girl, he is forgiven once he offers a ram for atonement; the girl, on the other hand, gets whipped and ostracized
•• Well, geez, do you know how much a ram costs these days? ••
◊ Leviticus 20:10 | Death for adulterers.
•• A lot of people are going to miss Newt and Rudy. ••
◊ Leviticus 20:13 | Death for homosexuals.
•• Not as many people are going to miss Jeff and George. ••
◊ Leviticus 20:15-16 | Death for bestiality.
•• Only a few people will miss Karl. ••
◊ Leviticus 26:29 | Eat the flesh of your sons and daughters.
•• Sort of makes you wonder when someone says, "I love children." ••
◊ Deuteronomy 3:1-7 | Wipe out your enemies' cities and kill every man, woman, and child... and be sure not to leave until you've taken all the valuables with you.
•• Uh... does anyone else get the impression these guys weren't the inspiration for the Geneva Conventions? ••
◊ Deuteronomy 21:10-14 | When you've wiped out your enemies' villages, you can keep a pretty captive girl; but you have to leave her alone for a month so she can get over the fact that you butchered her family. Then you can try her out as a prospective long-term wife.
•• You can see the sentimental side of God coming through here, what with letting the woman have a little time to herself and all before she's raped. ••
◊ Deuteronomy 22:5 | God detests women who wear men's clothing and men who wear women's clothing.
•• Damn! And Rudy looked absolutely delicious in that little number he was wearing. ••
◊ Deuteronomy 22:13-21 | A newly married woman who is not a virgin and whose father can't prove that she is (what's that supposed to mean?) shall be stoned to death.
•• Having to hear about that happening is obviously more than enough punishment for whoever made her a non-virgin. ••
◊ Deuteronomy 22:23-26 | In some circumstances, a raped virgin should be stoned to death because she didn't scream.
•• And wait until she tries to get a morning-after pill in Joe Lieberman's hometown. ••
◊ Deuteronomy 23:12-14 | Dig a hole and cover up the turds you squeeze out because God might be traipsing around, and boy would that ever be embarrassing if He stepped in your pile.
•• Does this book have practical advice, or what? ••
◊ Deuteronomy 25:5-10 | A widow whose dead husband's brother won't marry her can haul him before the elders, rip off his sandals, and spit in his face.
•• Now you just wait a minute! I paid darned good money for those sandals at Walmart last week, wench. ••
◊ Deuteronomy 25:11-12 | A woman shall have her hand cut off for touching a man's penis, even if she's doing so to stop him from killing her husband.
•• Do they pull out her teeth if she bites the assailant's dick off? ••
◊ Deuteronomy 22:28-29 | All the rules for what happens if you get caught after seducing or raping (depending upon how you interpret the passage and the situation) a virgin... for one thing, it's going to cost you fifty sheckels to her dad, and you've gotta marry her for life.
•• Fifty sheckels?! AND marriage with no prospect for divorce? Who says those Hebrews weren't tough on guys for sex crimes? ••
◊ Deuteronomy 23:1 | A man who's had his balls crushed or cut off can't go to church.
•• You see, this is one of those situations where's there's a silver lining to a really dark cloud: sure, you lose your manhood; but you don't have to go to church anymore! ••
◊ Deuteronomy 23:2 | Children born of forbidden marriages (or out of wedlock, from the King James Version of Deuteronomy 23:2) are condemned clear out to the tenth generation.
•• Boy, it's a darned good thing Joseph got Mary to that Elvis wedding chapel when he did. ••
◊ Deuteronomy 23:10-11 | A guy who has a wet dream needs to go be by himself for a while, then he has to wash up before he's allowed to show his face around the camp again.
•• Fine, but just for your information, I'm not wiping off the ceiling before I leave. ••
◊ Deuteronomy 24:1 | A guy can't divorce his wife and then remarry her if she got remarried and then divorced or widowed.
•• Well, heck. That shoots down the sentimental plotline for a couple of decent Hallmark Special Movies I was thinking of scripting. ••
◊ Deuteronomy 28:27 | Hemorrhoids ("emerods" in the King James Version cited, or "boils" in the New International Version of this passage) that won't heal are the punishment for making God mad at you.
•• So... that means I'm wasting my money on all that Preparation H, huh? ••
◊ Deuteronomy 28:30 | One of the Lord's curses is for a fellow to have another man hump his new bride first.
•• If there's something good on TV that night, where's the problem? ••
◊ Deuteronomy 28:53-57 | This curse by God is about as rough as it gets: People will get so mean that men will eat their kids and they won't share the meal, and women will get so mean they'll eat their own afterbirth and not even share it with their husbands and children.
•• I suppose I might be a little selfish, too, if I'd spent a lot of time grilling a kid's thigh meat properly or had sautéed some afterbirth in a really expensive vinegrette. ••
◊ Judges 3:20-22 | The king's gut was so fat and flabby that the sword's handle sunk in after the blade, and in the King James Version of the passage, the king's turds ("dirt") flowed out.
•• I'll stick with the suppository, thank you. ••
◊ Judges 4:4-22 | Treacherous murder by a woman using a hammer and peg through a sleeping guy's temple, nailing the poor SOB's head into the dirt.
•• DAMN, woman, just you see if I ever get into a bed with your ass. ••
◊ Judges 8:30 | Gideon had seventy sons by a whole bunch of wives and (at least) one by a concubine.
•• Gideon had an expensive hobby, that's what Gideon had (and Gideon could have used a prescription for anti-Viagra, too) ••
◊ Judges 11:29-40 | Jephtha has to sacrifice his only daughter because he promised God he would do that to the first thing that came to his door after he'd returned home victorious from battle, and wouldn't you know it but his daughter was the first thing that showed up at his door.
•• You see, this is where God needed to let Jephtha off the hook for that vow, but did He? Noooo. (There's a lesson in there about making promises to a god who holds guys to promises of sacrificing their daughters but tells dads at the last minute they don't have to sacrifice their sons.) ••
◊ Judges 19:1-30 | A man's concubine is raped by homosexuals (who really wanted to rape the guy), and then when her master gets her home, he chops her up into twelve pieces.
•• This is where I need to get up and walk around for a while lest I throw up all over this sick crap hundreds of millions of people think is the Word of a real god. ••
◊ Judges 21:6-25 | Butcher a tribe to get some virgins for your allies, and then, when you find out there weren't enough virgins captured, have your friends hide in the bushes and attack a bunch of girls going to a dance to get some more.
•• Hey, what are friends for? ••
◊ Ruth 3:6-9 | Ruth wants Boaz for her husband, so she curls up next to a him while he's sleeping; when he awakens, she tells him what she wants him to do.
•• This hasn't happened to me. Am I wearing the wrong cologne, or is it because I snore like a buffalo? ••
◊ Ruth 4:9-10 | So Boaz buys all the property of these dead guys, and he gets Ruth in the deal since she was the wife of one of those dead guys.
•• Ruth should go into estate sales. She's gooood. ••
◊ I Samuel 5:9-12 | The Philistines get hit with hemorrhoids ("tumors" in the New International Version of the passage) as punishment for stealing the ark of God
•• I'm not getting the connection between making God mad and His big thing about using 'rhoids as punishment, but I'm not very interested in having anyone explain the logic to me, either. ••
◊ I Samuel 6:1-5 | To atone to God for stealing that ark, the Phillistines have to offer him five gold hemorrhoids.
•• What the Hell is that all about? ••
◊ I Samuel 15:3 | God orders Saul to wipe out the Amalekites, including all the "men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys."
•• What the heck did the donkeys do to deserve this? That's what I want to know. ••
◊ I Samuel 18:23-27 | Saul tells David that, in lieu of money to marry Saul's daughter, David can deliver a hundred Philistine foreskins. So what does David do? He goes out and kills so many Philistines that he is able to deliver two hundred. Saul is impressed. David gets the girl.
•• Killing guys and cutting off their foreskins? Ain't NO bitch worth doing that. I'm sorry. ••
◊ I Samuel 25:22,3 4 | This passage talks about "any that pisseth against the wall," but it really has to do with consequences on conscience of blind vengeance.
•• I guess that means we're talking about the smell you get on you from splash-back. ••
◊ II Samuel 3:7 | Saul's son, Ish-Bosheth, confronts Abner for mounting Saul's concubine, Rizpah.
•• This book really does have parts that read like a lame soap opera. ••
◊ II Samuel 11:1-27 | This is the passage where David sends his friend, Uriah the Hittite, off to battle with secret orders to other soldiers to make sure he gets killed. David does this because he wants Uriah's wife. The plan works, and David gets the woman.
•• Uriah needed better friends, David needed to die, and God needs to explain why He forgives a pig like David but has His holy writers brag about how He oversees the slaughter of men, women, and children. No wonder the people who devoutly read this stuff can be such inconsistent assholes. ••
◊ II Samuel 12:7-12 | Everyone gets to watch the sex show. At least that's what it sounds like God is promising.
•• Popcorn! Peanuts! Handywipes! ••
◊ II Samuel 5:13 | David had lots and lots of concubines and wives, who had kids by the truckload (okay, by the chariotload).
•• Is this whole thing sort of like the religious version of Monopoly for these guys? ••
◊ II Samuel Chapter 13 | Amnon rapes his sister, Tamar; then he hates her so much for what he's done that he has her dragged out of his room. Absalom finally, two years later, has Amnon killed.
•• Ah, happy endings always make me feel good. ••
◊ II Samuel 16:20-23 | Absalom has sex with his dad's concubines on a rooftop where everyone can watch.
•• Is this a great neighborhood, or what? ••
◊ II Samuel 20:3 | David tosses the ten concubines (TEN?! Was that in one night?!) Absalom pumped in a guarded house, where they were kept for the rest of their lives.
•• Hussies. They could have just killed themselves rather than obey a direct order from their master's son. ••
◊ I Kings 1:1-4 | When David got old and sick, his servants found him a gorgeous young virgin to get him warmed up; but alas, David wasn't interested.
•• Uh, did anyone ever stop to think of how fast that boy would have kicked the bucket if he'd actually gotten a young woman started on him? ••
◊ I Kings 11:1-10 | Solomon has "had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines."
•• That's gotta be a misprint... It's NOT?! (Well, sheee-it!) ••
◊ I Kings 14:10 | More of that pissing against the wall stuff, and a reference to hauling away manure, too.
•• Human excrement was sort of an important point of reference back then, wasn't it? ••
◊ I Kings 16:11 | Here's the passage: "[W]hen [Zimri] began to reign, as soon as he sat on his throne... he slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks, nor of his friends."
•• There's another reference to human excrement. Those scribal guys were downright nasty-talking peckers, weren't they? ••
◊ I Kings 21:21 | And here's yet another direct quote: "Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall..."
•• This 'pissing against the wall' kenning is getting old. Can't they do one like "farts into the wind" once in a while? ••
◊ II Kings 6:24-33 | Some woman recounts how her son got cooked and eaten.
•• Okay, the pissing on the wall thing wasn't so bad, after all, compared to this fetish. ••
◊ II Kings 9:8 | They go back to the pissing on the wall deal.
•• ENOUGH! No more pissing on the wall, no more cannibalism, no more anything stupid, sick, or in bad culinary taste! ••
◊ II Kings 23:7 | Male whorehouses got torn down.
•• But fortunately, the guys providing companionship for President Bush escaped unharmed. ••
◊ I Chronicles 1:32-33 | The six sons of Abraham's concubine, Keturah, are named.
•• Sheez, even the sleazy tabloids these days try to be a little more discreet than this. ••
◊ II Chronicles 11:21 | King Rehoboam had eighteen wives and sixty concubines; among these ladies, the king sired twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.
•• Not bad, but he's not even in the same league as Solomon with his seven hundred. ••
◊ Esther Chapters 1-2 | Xerxes's queen disobeys him, so he holds a sex tournament to decide who will be the replacement queen.
•• O, yeah. I knew we'd get to some good stuff. This what I'm talkin' about. Right here: Uh-huh. This Bible stuff RULEZ, man. ••
◊ Song of Solomon | Goooood sex poetry.
•• I still don’t get the part about how she made his "bowels move." ••
◊ Isaiah 3:16 | God gets mad because women are walking around all uppity, looking at guys, and walking with a merry step; so God has all the men killed in battle.
•• Well, now, that's a twist on the way it usually works out in the Bible, what with the way God normally kicks the women's asses and lets the guys get off Scot free. ••
◊ Isaiah 9:20 | People are going to eat their own kids.
•• This cannibalism thing seems to center around dining on kids, which makes sense considering they're probably pretty tender compared to some old person. ••
◊ Isaiah 14:21-22 | Kids get put to death for what their forefathers did.
•• Cripe, and kids now days hate their dads for just being too busy working at the office. ••
◊ Isaiah 16:11 | Here's the money quote: "Wherefore my bowels shall sound like an harp for Moab, and mine inward parts for Kirharesh."
•• Big deal; my bowels sound like a tuba, and my inward parts can do a damn good runaway freight train. ••
◊ Isaiah 36:12 | The passage is a pretty hurtful commentary on guys for sitting on a wall eating their own turds and drinking their own piss.
•• Yes, but do they use a toothpaste with flouride afterward? That's what counts. ••
◊ Jeremiah 16:4 | Wishes for horribly bad deaths come flowing forth.
•• Someone who could think up this kind of sick stuff needs to be kept away from kids, decent adults, and most family pets. ••
◊ Lamentations 2:19 | This passage is a lamentation to God about all the horrendous miseries he has visited upon people, many of whom didn't deserve it.
•• Give the writer credit for restraint; if I had written that, there would have been some serious use of profanity, obscenity, and vulgarity to get the point across about God being a total asshole. ••
◊ Lamentations 4:10 | Women use their children's flesh to make food.
•• "Honey, have you seen the kids this morning?... Oooo! Sausage links for breakfast!" ••
◊ Ezekiel 4:12-15 | First, God wants the bread cooked over a fire stoked with human feces; then he accepts a compromise that it be cooked over a fire fueled by cow manure.
•• "Honey, how come this bread tastes like ass?" ••
◊ Ezekiel 5:8-10 | Dads will eat their kids, and kids will eat their dads.
•• I guess that leaves Mom to say the blessing over the meal. ••
◊ Ezekiel 8:2 | God shows his loins, and boy are they hot!
•• If we could get that guy into some leather, we'd get free drinks at the bar. ••
◊ Ezekiel 16:15 | Whining about an easy girl.
•• By the guy too uptight to ask for His turn. ••
◊ Ezekiel 16:36-37 | God's going to strip the whore naked in front of all her johns.
•• And... they're going to see what that they hadn't already seen? ••
◊ Ezekiel 23:1-40 | This is a long, gruesome analogy between a pair of prostitutes and Israel. It starts off interesting enough, what with talk about playing with titties, but then it gets down to the usual Bible stuff about suffering, misery, and people getting slaughtered.
•• Ah, a biblical reference to Israel being the whore. That might explain why the American/Israeli Political Action Committee is so obsessed with making sure that our politicians here in the U.S. are the whores for Tel Aviv, these days. ••
◊ Ezekiel 29:7-8 | The vow by God, "Behold, I will bring a sword upon thee, and cut off man and beast out of thee" can be taken as a description of chopping off a penis.
•• Memo to Self: Wear metal cup when near angry God. ••
◊ Hosea 1:2-11 | God's mad at Israel so he tells Hosea to find a whore for a wife.
•• Geez, this is going to mean we'll need a whole lot of loose women when God gets down to punishing America for the way it's been acting during the Bush Administration. ••
◊ Hosea 2:1-15 | This is one long rant by God against Israel in which most of the allusions are sexual.
•• That, or the prophet writing this sleaze was just horny that day. ••
◊ Nahum 3:4-6 | I quote God: "I am against you... I will lift your skirts over your face. I will show the nations your nakedness
and the kingdoms your shame."
•• Hey, wait a minute! What makes God think I'm not wearing any underwear under my skirt? ••
◊ Malachi 2:1-4 | God will smear your faces with manure.
•• Before or after the turds have been evacuated from the bowels? That's important to some of us, y'know. ••
◊ Matthew 5:27-30 | You've committed adultery even if you've just lusted after woman.
•• Sheesh. Talk about a real kill-joy of a guy. ••
◊ Matthew 5:31-32 | Unless a man divorces a woman for unfaithfulness, she's an adultress as soon as she has sex with another man after the divorce.
•• So she's a whore because she was divorced, or she's a whore as a result of the divorce, is that how it works? And what does that make the guy in all of this?Pimp Daddy? ••
◊ Matthew 19:3-9 | This is where Jesus points out that the man who divorces and remarries is an adulterer.
•• Is it just me, or should all those Republican presidential candidates be shifting around uncomfortably in their chairs? ••
◊ Matthew 19:12 | Men might want to accept the fact that they should castrate themselves for Jesus.
•• Castrate yerself for Jesus, you weirdo. ••
◊ Matthew 22:24 | After the resurrection, people will not be married.
•• Ah, so there is a day of rest after all. ••
◊ Luke 2:21 | The eight-day-old Jesus gets His circumcision.
•• What's with this eight-day-old weiner skinning thing, fer cryin' out loud?! Give the damn kid some time to get used to how cold it is outside the womb. ••
◊ Acts 15:24 | There is no commandment requiring circumcision.
•• Maybe not, but it sure teaches the boys who's boss. ••
◊ Acts 16:3 | Paul circumcises an adult.
•• And then goes out and smokes a cigarette. ••
◊ Romans 1:26-32 | Gay men and lesbians "worthy of death," as are their supporters.
•• ..uh, unless they're really religious Republicans or the daughters of 'em. ••
◊ I Corinthians 7:1-40 | To be perfectly holy, don't even touch a woman, much less have sex with one.
•• Okay, fine, I'll start blogging. ••
◊ I Corinthians 7:18-19 | If you're not circumcised, stay that way.
•• NOW you tell me, you asshole! ••
◊ Galatians 5:1-4 | Paul actually condemns circumcision (for his Greek audience, none of whose men particularly like the idea).
•• Wait a minute! In Acts 16:3, Paul circumcises a guy... oh, I see: that guy was a "friend." ••
◊ Revelation 17:1-16 | The whore of Revelation is stripped, eaten, and burned.
•• In that order?! ••
There are more passages in the various translations of the Bible available at your local bookstore or online, but I've just about worn myself out coming up with sardonic commentary with the ones offered above.
The Dark Wraith hopes readers have enjoyed and benefited from this long but informative article.
Sheesh. (Okay, OKAY.)
My name is Al. A number of you already knew that, though. Given that some troll thought he had important information to provide, along with threats, the information behind his weak IP proxy will be shared with law enforcement, as well as with an old attorney friend of mine who's about as vicious as anyone you'll ever want to meet. (And I do dearly love the fellow for that fine quality.)
I had been planning for some time to get Registered Commenter status set up here, and so I shall now enable it. You can choose your username and password via this form. The MySQL database is such that, unfortunately, your username can be only a maximu of sixteen characters in length, but spaces are permissible, although I don't think really weird characters (you know, like Chinese, Klingon, and Sanskrit) will work, although I can't say that I've ever tried that. The field for the e-mail address is what will be used to authenticate you with a message sent there. Once you respond to that message, about an hour later (enough time for me to run the match to ensure that the e-mail address is authenticatically related to an IP where it was originally set up), you will become a Registered Commenter. The several layers of authentication ensure that no dangerous individuals find their way in here. Your e-mail address will be hidden from comments you make if you so choose, and that e-mail address will not be shared with anyone under any circumstances. If it sounds terribly intrusive, it is; however, it's not nearly as much so as typical authentication procedures in the workplace or in reputable online commerce.
This is all somewhat temporary security, temporary because I do not know how long I shall continue to blog. The health problems about which I wrote last week are rather more severe than I had hoped, but about as bad as I had feared. Fortunately, I shall choose not to hear any more about what's wrong, and that will keep me from getting really unhappy.
The form will remain as a permanent link in the left sidebar. Register if you like. I hope every one of you who has been a commenter of good will and some degree of duration will do so.
The Dark Wraith cruises into the late afternoon.
Dr. Falwell will be missed by millions of devout Christians who believed his message to have been authentic and in keeping with a strict, literal interpretation of the Holy Bible. Millions of others, however, firmly held that Falwell was a charlatan who preyed on the lonely, the disaffected, the ignorant, and the lost to advance his personal fortune and power using a hateful interpretation of Christianity that imposed suffering on many while doing nothing to alleviate misery, end poverty, and provide earthly hope.
Jerry Falwell was 73 years old.
That was quite a sermon, parson. Didn't agree with much of anything you said, but you sure did know how to kick my progressive ass, sir. We should let the choir sing now for a while.
Another Violent Spammer
They're nothing but belly-crawlers who can't grow up. The same kind of scum that terrorized blogger Melissa McEwan (aka "Shakespeare's Sister") at the behest of a heretik who poses as a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church and the guardian of the legacy of Jesus of Nazareth.
At the end of their days, these monstrosities will burn in the Hell of eternal nothingness; but long before they stew in that infinite, ceaseless, tormenting pot of not-being, they will be caught by law enforcement authorities here on this mortal Earth, and they will be punished. The sicko menacing The Fat Lady Sings isn't far from that fate.
Tonight, he's scared. He should be. He's going to be caught, and he can only imagine what that means.
The Dark Wraith has spoken.
Special Blog Poll: The Right Domain Name
As regular readers here know, I have been publishing video lectures, mostly through YouTube, and more recently through Revver, the latter service offering at least the minimal chance to earn some revenue, although lectures on economics, finance, and other academic subjects are not well-suited to video services that are primarily geared to chronicling pop culture.
A strange thing has happened, though: if you look at my "ProfessorWraith" and "ProfessorWraith2" stats on YouTube, you'll notice that there have been about ten thousand hits on my videos. Ten thousand. And that doesn't include the hits on Revver, numbering so far a modest hundred or so because only a relatively small crowd (compared to that on YouTube) even knows about Revver yet. But the real kicker is that the Windows Media versions of the lectures are being accessed from my server at a growing rate, too, which seems to indicate that those versions are being passed around via e-mail since the source locations aren't the articles where the links were originally posted here.
All told, over a span of a few months, a cluster of about ten economics lectures has garnered a total of maybe fourteen thousand views.
Now, I'm getting e-mail messages from students at schools all over the country. It seems these lectures have picked up an audience, and some of these lectures are even being played in classes. For example, a young man from Mississippi State University wrote to tell me that he finally talked his professor into playing one of the lectures (I think it was the one where I mentioned "ass bread") on the last day of class.
It is time for a commercialized spin-off. Unfortunately, the two academic textbook publishers that had voiced some degree of interest are wholly unsuitedand not really all that interested anywayin swiftly embracing cyberspace modalities, despite their representatives constantly coming around and trying to show professors just how incredibly useful their "online resources" are. Sadly, these efforts at integrating the Web into a matrix of education materials are generally of only limited use, principally because the interfaces are terribly cumbersome, requiring that I undergo training (as if I'm some kind of damned dog that needs obedience school), or lashed to an abomination like WebCT, Blackboard, or some ungodly, proprietary format. My initial excitement about the prospect of getting involved with a big publishing firm has now vanished, and that's okay. I can do this on my own... I think. And even if this project fizzles, which most things do so spectacularly for me, I know how to flash my videos, and I know how to deploy a really nice Website where people can go to watch them. Finding commercial sponsors, especially the kind that aren't going to insist on those offensively intrusive ads, is going to be difficult for me; I've never been good at that end of the business, but I'll just have to learn, now.
All is good, or at least I can make it so, except for one thing, and that's where you come in.
On the Web, I am the Dark Wraith; the legal, "fictitious name" of my cyberspace enterprise is Dark Wraith Publishing. Those watching my video lectures on YouTube and Revver now know me as "Professor Wraith." My flagship domain, under which I host The Dark Wraith Forums and all of the other blogs as add-on domains, is dark-wraith.com. This domain and its hosting server are already at their limit, bearing the weight of what I have already constructed, which includes The Dark Wraith Forums, Big Brass Blog, The UnCapitalist Journal (now coming back to life), blogScream News Wire, and assorted other projects. A video Website or blog would just about instantly bring down everything I already have online, so I have to start this new thing from scratch: new domain, new Webhost, new wardrobe, new hairstyle... oh, wait a minute: I'm going overboard. Strike those last two; I'll deal with the personal matters once I get that day spa pass I ordered on eBay from that Republican guy in Washington DC who was dumping his stash of tickets to Jennifer Paltry's All-Body Lounge and Baptist Reading Circle. But enough about that.
Here's the deal. I've got the new Webhost ready to go, but I need a domain name. It has to be related to my continuing presence as the Dark Wraith, and it has to dovetail into the persona of Professor Wraith and the entire concept of academics on the Web in visual/audio format.
I have come up with a set of available domain names that might work, but I can't get happy with any of them, not because they're no good, but because I just cannot see what an end user would see in a particular name. Below, I'm offering a poll of available domain names I'm considering, and I am herewith asking you to vote for the one you think would be best. If there's a domain name not on the list that you think would be better (making sure it's available, of course), please use the comments to suggest it. Note that there is some conventional wisdom that should be heeded about domain names: the shorter, the better; the more descriptive, the better; the less like a similar, popular Web name, the better (if for no other reason than to avoid a legal skirmish); underscores are passé; dot-coms are always best; silly is good, but not for me; sexy sells, but I'm not sexy; alliterative, poetic, mystical, or otherwise striking is cool; numbers generally aren't a good idea unless they work as word or word bridges; and words that begin with "e-" or "i-" or "my" are just plain overused and ready for the obsolete cyber-lexicon trash heap of obsolescence.
I will have to move quickly because I could end up losing all of my possibilities listed below if some cybersquatter stumbles on this post and grabs them up to shake me down for a fee to get the name I want. The poll will end tomorrow, May 15, 2007, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
In advance, the Dark Wraith thanks you for offering sensibilities he does not possess in this matter.
The Written Peace: Open Forum of May 10, 2007
By the way, those video series, which have become a semi-regular feature here, are part of an on-going effort in which I am trying to build some degree of multi-media presence for Dark Wraith Publishing. I am mindful that they are popular only to a relative handful of the long-time readers here, but they are actually capturing a growing audience on the Internet via YouTube and that strange, word-of-cybermouth virality that has attended the pop culture side of the Information Age.
Some of you might already have noticed that, at the bottom of the main page and the individual article pages, I have embedded a graphical link to "Revver" videos of the lectures. Revver is a service somewhat different from YouTube; perhaps the most important difference, aside from better video quality and several formatting options, is that, under certain circumstances, a publisher of videos on Revver can actually earn revenue. The trick is that a viewer has to watch the whole video and then click on the ad link at the end. The good news about this is that most of the ads aren't all that bad; the bad news is that this revenue-sharing method favors very short videos, ones that will hold viewers' attention no more than half-a-minute. My videos, unfortunately, are painfully long by flash video standards. Because of the YouTube restriction that videos published there can be no longer than 10 minutes in duration, I've made that my usual benchmark, with most of my lecture clips being between seven and ten minutes long. Even though the chances of generating much revenue at all (so far, I've earned 70 cents) are minimal, it's better than the no-chance-at-all way YouTube is run. Google was just the right company to acquire YouTube: yet another way to have others do most of the work while thinking they're getting a freebie from an eternally generous provider that's making all the money and gathering a nearly monopoly position in certain markets.
The videos I'm producing are part of a learning experience. They'll get better; they'll get more polished; and eventually, they'll be marketable on their own as DVDs. Stand-alone marketability won't happen for a while, though, and even if they eventually earn me some degree of commercial success, I swear to you that I won't let it go to my head, at least not to the extent that I become a politician or, far worse, a mainstream media talking head. (For one thing, I know for a fact that I wouldn't be able to maintain proper decorum if I had to sit next to some Right-wing nutjob on a news show.)
Domains for Sale
Speaking of marketability, next month, I'll be holding a private auction to sell my two domains, truth2008.com and truth2008.org. The minimum bids are not something I would care to publish here lest I give friends the impression that I'm a robber-baron, which I might be, but I'd prefer not to give that impression. This past semester, I was granted a temporary status that allowed me to work more hours than would normally be permissible under state laws and collective bargaining agreements (of which I was not, and would not be, a part). With the end of the semester coming next week will come the end of that brief arrangement, one in which I was earning at a rate better than my usual twenty thousand dollars a year. The Faculty Member of the Year Award I just wonsomething I mentioned here awhile backwas more or less nothing but a kiss of death, a faint pat on the head to make me feel good about returning to the trench. Still, it will make for a nice certificate I can put in my Valuable Papers box I keep in the back of my Jeep.
Late next week, I'll post a picture of me in full regalia holding the certificate (appropriately redacted, of course) I'll be given at the school's commencement ceremony.
My cynicism is running a bit on the high side tonight, and that is entirely inappropriate. Last week was scary. For several months, just about every morning in the shower I was having a brief spell in which I felt like I was going to black out. I would have to just stand very still and ride out the episodes, none of which lasted more than a minute and every one of which ended with a rather rapid recovery of normal breathing and heart rate attended by an altogether odd weakness in my legs and knees. By Tuesday of last week, my throat was hurting terribly, my windpipe ached awfully when I'd breathe in smoke or anything else acrid, and I had a couple of spells where I was scared about allowing myself to fall asleep lest I never again awaken.
Those are usually signs that something is wrong. Call me an alarmist if you will, but I tend to get all kinds of worried about death, given my past history with the Grim Reaper's unfortunate habit of repeatedly showing me that departing this life is almost always something less than swift, painless, and noble.
Part of my little package of rewards for being allowed more hours of work was that I briefly had medical insurance. Unfortunately, it's the requirement that employers like mine provide such insurance that makes it nearly impossible to get as many hours as I had. My hat is off to the good, liberal forcesthose in the unions and those in the state legislaturethat so responsibly choose to have hundreds of thousands of people underemployed or unemployed just so a small gathering can have darned good medical coverage.
The funny part about it is that I would have been out of my mind to go to a doctor or to an emergency room for my condition: they would have been more than glad to turn me into a basket case of X-rays, MRIs, endless tests and whatnot, all to the professionally responsible end of making yet another person a semi-permanent member of the medical/pharmaceutical dependency lifestyle, and all to the personal end of bankrupting me after my medical benefits terminate at the end of next week.
It's all enough to drive a perfectly stable person to a Libertarian political convention. That, or a faith healer.
Solving the Problem, Even When the Solution Is Worthless
Anyway, I stopped all use of tobacco, I cut my daily food intake to about 800 calories; and I upped my weight-lifting regimen to 90 minutes a day.
Oh, yes: I also stopped feeling sorry for the pathetic state of my life. The downside of that new-found energy was that I once again had to deal with the annoying truth that there are so darned few people to blame for personal problems. God! but that's irritating.
I need to get rid of the mirrors in my apartment.
From Here to Infirmity
What lies ahead for all of us might not be particularly good, and much of the bad can be laid at the doorstep of the neo-conservatives, the politically charged fundamentalists, the worthless Republicans who appeased them, and the still-pathetic Democrats who could not find the way to stop all of the madness before it had set this nation upon an irreversible course of degradation that will surely cause much unneeded suffering in the decades and years to come.
All of that does nothing, however, to diminish the need for a personal fortitude and the persistent renewal of erstwhile vows to live on without excuses for individual failures. We really do have a fight to engage, and we must take upon ourselves that work without fear of a country that remains every bit as spiteful today as it did the day more than fifty million of its adult citizens saw fit to elect a vicious, hateful, ignorant, venal man like George W. Bush as President of the United States of America.
The weatherman just reported that storms are coming this way. I think they'll be here sooner than we think.
But for the Time at Hand...
Say your peace tonight. This is an open forum, and I'll be hanging out here in the hotel lobby, hoping to see some old and new faces pass through. If the crowd gets rowdy, I suppose I can turn on the jukebox and play some kicky tunes from a few Gothic groups I've heard recently.
That should set the appropriate tone. Maybe we can start a betting pool on which Bush Administration official will be the next to tell the subpoena issuers in Congress to go pound salt.
And before I forget, I wanted to tell you about my new word: if you've forgotten to respond to an e-mail message someone sent you, don't say, "Aw, geez! I forgot!" Instead, you calmly explain that the original message that was sent to you got "Roved," which means, according to the Dark Wraith Cyberglossary, that the message was accidentally deleted and that the accidental deletion was actually intentional.
And, no, the e-mail messages from some of you I haven't answered weren't Roved. I've honestly been busy, and some of that distraction was because I was being vexed by this fellow wearing a tacky black robe with a hoodie and accessorizing with a big scythe.
The whole outfit really worked for him, but I never bothered to tell him that. It would have just encouraged him.
The Dark Wraith turns up the house lights for the evening's festivities.