It’s Valentine’s Day again, which means we’ll all be buying cards, chocolates and flowers for our significant other (or ridiculing the holiday for its commercial vapidness). Since Valentine’s Day is one of the major holidays of the western world, you’ve probably heard the history:
We celebrate Valentine’s day in honor of St. Valentinus, who was martyred a long time ago around February 14th – the “romance” part is because he continued to marry soldiers during wartime; the crime that led to his death.
Except until the 18th Century, the “romantic” part wasn’t celebrated at all (although kind of referenced in some literature) and suddenly burst into being, with the popularity of mass-produced, factory-made Valentine’s Day cards. So how did we get from a guy dying for marriage – through an interim of around 1500 years – to the romantic meaning we have to day?
Like almost all western holidays, St. Valentine’s day is a massive Christian cover up.
Christian leaders soon learned that officially prohibiting a thousand-year-old cultural custom was impossible, so in every case (even the very minor holidays which they made Saints Days) they took the dates people were already celebrating and shifted the “why” – so that people could keep doing … Read More »
Can non-believers be creative? Steven Pressfield’s new proof for the existence of God (and why it fails)
Today on Steven Pressfield’s blog he posted an article called How Resistance Proves the Existence of God.
Let me start by saying, I saw this coming years ago.
I saw it in his now famous “War or Art” and in the interview he did with Oprah.
I saw it in the new book “Do the Work” Seth Godin asked him to write.
In brief, Pressfield believes that we are all called to produce art, and our greatest enemy in life is Resistance.
Resistance is that inner voice of doubt that tells us we’re not good enough.
The problem with the assumption, is that it means:
A) God wants ALL of us to be creative artists.
B) Whatever we produce is God’s will.
Which is bound to make us a little egocentric. It’s also likely to turn artists and writers (who believe it) into sad and frustrated and lonely artists (nobody gets me! Why isn’t my work appreciated!?)
And in my experience, those authors, artists and creatives who really believe it are also far more likely to fail.
Someone who likes to be creative but doesn’t believe in God, for example, may decide to “sell out” by making something cool that people want and making a lot of money. They may study … Read More »
I was excited to take a break from writing my thesis tonight to start Season 3 of Sherlock Holmes, “The Empty Hearse.” Since my thesis is focused mainly on Milton, Guy Fawkes and revolutionary terrorism, I was very surprised that the plot of episode one takes place among November 5th events that commemorate the infamous Gunpowder Plot of 1605.
The interesting thing about Guy Fawkes – who has become the de facto symbol of revolutionary action around the world since the making of the movie V for Vendetta, which portrayed him and his plan to destroy parliament as heroic and vital – is that he’s both a hero and a villain, as all revolutionary heroes are.
Generally speaking, lower classes with less to lose are eager to get behind the idea of a clean slate revolution that tears down social borders, financial institutions and governmental law, while upper classes view the same idea with horror.
There are also religious differences – Guy Fawkes was a Catholic terrorist who wanted to blow up the ruling Protestant King, James I, and restore freedom and power to Catholics in England.
To Catholics, Guy Fawkes was a hero. To Protestants, the devil himself. Him and the conspirators were … Read More »
Within just the past decade, there has been a rapid shift in the characterization of the Other – from monstrous, to misunderstood; from frightening to friendly. Thus, vampires, werewolves and witches have changed from being evil creatures of the night, to tragically misunderstood victims of judgmental traditionalist organizations who are constantly challenging their right to exist. In 2012 we even had the movie Wreck it Ralph, in which all the classic “evil” characters from video games were given the chance to express their feelings in a bad-guy support group. The common feeling was “They can’t change who they are, they have to accept themselves as evil.” Their affirmation goes,
“I’m bad. And that’s good. I will never be good. And that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be, than me.”
What is fascinating to me (as a PhD student in Comparative Literature) is how closely Wreck-it-Ralph mirrors Milton’s Satan in Paradise Lost – except for one major difference. In sync with contemporary moral values of inclusion and acceptance, the hero of the movie, Ralph, makes the transition from bad to good – demonstrating to children everywhere that good and evil are not fixed boundaries, but fluid definitions which can be altered … Read More »
Recently I found this awesome Baphomet sweater and decided to give a few away by having a quick poetry contest. I deleted some comments so that those who spent more time and posted longer poems would win (I hate moderating…. Cameron G – if you get in touch with me I’ll send you an Amazon gift card.)
Liz Johnson – Sweater
Santa Claus I beg of thee
Place my presents below the tree
So when I wake there I will find
Books of Jesus Christ maligned
Words that denounce Jesus the Jew
Nietzsche, Dawkins, Harris, too
All these would quite well suffice
To spurn my hate of Jesus Christ
I much prefer the ways of science
In this field I find reliance
Not with the fundies, the crazy Christians
Or all the stupidity of religion
It’s towards the Bible
That I write libel
I need these books to inspire
Religious leaders to retire
I tell you now, I guarantee
People without God are free
Those that worship made up things
Are responsible for divine right of kings!
Jesus saves the willing slaves
As Christians pray for a better world
We must all dig our graves
Until the Atheist flag unfurls
Truth though be it as it may
I write the poem in an ironic way
As I write this anti-religious letter
I am praying for a satanic sweater
Parker … Read More »
I was looking for something on Alibaba recently and saw a post I thought was funny – a giant inflatable Santa, but they had misspelled it to “Satan.” No big deal, but kind of funny. But I looked around some more, and there were several dozen different products making the same mistake.
You’d think if they couldn’t speak or spell in English, then they would’ve use a translator and been careful to copy the right letters.
Or maybe that’s just how they spell Santa in China.
And then there’s some posts like this, for a “Satan tube dress” or “Satan ribbon.”
It took me a minute, but I guess they were probably trying to spell “Satin” and got it wrong. Just a harmless spelling error.
But there’s more. Here’s one of my favorites:
A company that makes horoscope necklaces for the 12 planets spelled everything right, but spelled Saturn (planet for Capricorn) as “Satan.” They even spelled it right on the description but wrong on the actual necklace. That seems a bit devious.
It’s especially interesting because the planet Saturn, who’s tied to Chronos in mythology and depicted with a scythe, strongly influenced the mythology of Satan (and death, reaper of souls). Saturn is the old man … Read More »
Christmas isn’t a big deal here in Taiwan, so it’s hard to get “in the season” or riled up by this “War on Christmas” controversy. But I want to celebrate the meaning of Christmas by giving away two things I really want, rather than buying them for myself.
First up is this amazing Christmas “ugly-sweater” with Baphomet on it.
Next is this snazzy hoodie (that’s not even available outside of Taiwan but I’ll ship it to you). When you zip it all the way up, you transfigure into Jesus. Then you can go around saying “Merry ME-MAS!”
These retail for about $80 each, so it’s a meaningful something that most people probably wouldn’t buy for themselves, but would love to wear – and I want someone cool to be out in the world wearing them.
How to win
Write a “War on Christmas” poem and put it in the comments. It can be a short limerick, a koan, a heroic couplet, a haiku, ballad, stanza or non-rhyming experimental. It doesn’t have to be long or very good. Funny or serious is up to you, just something about the whole “happy holidays” feud.
“Disqus” has an upvote function, so one winner will be the one that gets … Read More »