Sunday, December 2, 2012

Idiocy Beyond Belief: Charles Pierce Exposes Our Religiously Nutcase Nation

Front Cover“Things are in the wrong place. Religion is in the box where science used to be. Politics is on the shelf where you thought you left science the previous afternoon. Entertainment seems to have knocked over and spilled on everything.”

― Charles P. Pierce,  Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free

Reading Charles P. Pierce's book  Idiot America: How Stupidity Became A Virtue in the Land of the Free, is sobering to say the least. The first chapter, on the Creationist Museum of Ken Ham in Kentucky, is like being whacked by a two by four - and you wonder how so many 'Muricans' could be so dumb as to spend $149 each to see exhibits (e.g. dinos with saddles at the time of "Adam and Eve") when it's all bullshit.  Soon after the "stars" elicited by Pierce's 2 x4 whack (or maybe wake up call) settle down, one begins to see how this country became so totally screwed up that the inmates are literally running the asylum. It also doesn't inspire a lot of hope, unless and until more of us are willing to call out and ridicule the idiots among us or those in the media who turn a blind eye toward them- thereby encouraging their foolishness. For more on this, and to get Pierce's POV directly, check out this You tube interview:

I especially liked how Pierce reserved special invective for the semi-literate creators  Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, of the absurd  Left Behind  series (p. 132):

“Thousands of people ascending bodily to heaven? Antichrists from the UN with names like James Bond villains? Jesus chopping up folks in the sand? To call this medieval is to to insult Thomas Aquinas; this is the kind of thing dreamed up by religious lunatics..”

He also reserves some special opprobrium for TIME magazine which put the images of the culprits....errrr....creators on one of its covers. As he notes (ibid.):

"The article inside the magazine did not find it necessary to point out that (a) Jenkins and LaHaye are peddling a fringe interpretation of Scripture rejected by most scholars, and (b) the whole senario is absurd no matter how many people believe it."

And for sure, millions of idiots across this land do believe it, as certainly as I believe the Sun will rise in the morning- but predicated on astronomic reality. These idiots have found a "bouy" to latch on to in the midst of stormy uncertain times and seas. With their special latch keys to opening their 2,000 yr. old  "good book" they believe themselves privy to all that's going on now and all that will go on until their fantasy "Second coming". And anyone with the temerity not to side with them, or criticize their invite to "salvation" is damned on the spot as heathen, infidel or worse. They have to do that because it's the only way they can elevate their own imbecility.

But as Pierce argues in his interview, we don't have to assist in validating their specious rot, thereby enabling them as much of the media do! That's why he includes TIME, or any other journal or media outlet as Bigger Idiots when they promote or lend credence to such whacko beliefs. As Cenk Uygur who gives the interview offers up, it's mainly because formerly reputable journalistic departments have been converted to sales departments. All they see in front of them are $$$$$ signs, and if putting a couple of end-times promoting dopes on a cover can grab more sales, they will do it...'devil take the hindmost'.

But Pierce's major scorn is for how the lunacy of current religious crankery has flowed into our politics and turned it into the laughing stock of the world. As he observes (ibid.):

“Because nothing sells in the modern Christian Marketplace like the notion that Christians are beset on all sides by powerful forces desperately in need of a good dismebowelling, it was inevitable that religious marketing would flow into the country’s politics. Amnd religion has been sold there solely as a product.”

He goes on to point out (ibid.):

“Political religion has always been a sucker’s game for marks and prayerful mama’s boys, an ever vain search for a non-existent pea hidden beneath the swindler’s overturned chalices. It exchanges the loaves and fish for the rigged wheel and the marked deck.

A politician discussing his religion now refers to himself as a ‘person of faith’ – which tells you more about the politician’s balls than it does his soul. He doesn’t have enough of the former to call himself ‘religious’ because that leads to the question of which religion and why he chooses to follow it and not dozens of others, or none of them at all.”

What about "faith -based" programs or whatever? Pierce again:

“Faith-based is another dishonest term for a dishonest time. It’s a word for people too cowardly to call themselves religious and it is beloved by politicians too cowardly to debate something as substantial as faith. It was eagerly adopted by Idiot America  which is too lazy to do either one."

He goes on to add that Idiot America is too lazy because the faith based term conforms to the "Three Great Premises" - beloved by all simpletons in the country:

- It's a cheap salesman's term of art, something used to "pitch a cereal"

- It sounds like an additive, i.e. "faith based" - an artificial flavoring to make crude biases taste of bread and wine

- It's camouflage under which religion is sold like smuggled goods in places where it doesn't belong.

How fucked up is Idiot America? Let's take the  memetic "tour" offered by Pierce:

"Dinosaurs on Noah's Ark? Ken Ham's Idiot Answers in Genesis (AIG)

Welcome to your new Eden.

Welcome to Idiot America.

Let's take a tour, shall we? For the sake of time, we'll just cover the last year or so (2008-09).

A federally funded abstinence program suggests that HIV can be transmitted through tears. An Alabama legislator proposes a bill to ban all books by gay authors.

The Texas House passes a bill banning suggestive cheerleading. And nobody laughs at any of it, or even points out that, in the latter case, having Texas ban suggestive cheerleading is like having Nebraska ban corn.

James Dobson, a prominent conservative Christian spokesman, compares the Supreme Court to the Ku Klux Klan.

Pat Robertson, another prominent conservative preacher, says that federal judges are a more serious threat to the country than is Al Qaeda and, apparently taking his text from the Book of Gambino, later sermonizes that the United States should get with it and snuff the democratically elected president of Venezuela.

The Congress of the United States intervenes to extend into a televised spectacle the prolonged death of a woman in Florida.

The majority leader of the Senate, a physician, pronounces a diagnosis based on heavily edited videotape. The majority leader of the House of Representatives argues against cutting-edge research into the use of human stem cells by saying that "an embryo is a person.... We were all at one time embryos ourselves. So was Abraham. So was Muhammad. So was Jesus of Nazareth." Nobody laughs at him or points out that the same could be said of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, or whoever invented the baby-back rib.

And, finally, in August, the cover of Time -- for almost a century the dyspeptic voice of the American establishment -- clears its throat, hems and haws and hacks like a headmaster gagging on his sherry, and asks, quite seriously: "Does God have a place in science class?"

Read Pierce's book if you dare, but better to do it in small quantized chunks, lest your head explode at the spectacle of so many idiots in our midst!

No comments: