Ironically, I really wanted to be a cartoonist when I was a kid, but today, I don’t know how to draw cartoons that look, you know, professional, and I don’t have whatever software/equipment they use in order to post their work directly online. That said, as a writer, I have lots of great ideas for cartoons, so cartoonist Jeffrey Watson of Ape Not Monkey fame and I put our heads together. Hopefully there will be many more of these to come; I have lots of ideas and Jeff is very talented, as you can see. Here are the fruits of our heathenistic labor,
(Due to software problems, I can’t embed the cartoons, so please follow the links.)
Obviously, these are all based on the same idea: how religious people cherry pick the parts of religion, the bible, and occasionally science, that they like best and disregard what doesn’t sit well.
While I’m discussing other talents in the atheist/skeptic world, please check out Aussie Jake Farr-Wharton’s Imaginary Friends podcast. Please tell him that I sent you there.
On my recent honeymoon in Hawaii, I did something I’ve always wanted to do: swim with a dolphin. Her name was Punahele. I got to pet her and ride on her pectoral fins. A lot of people on the tour were Japanese, and I joked to Andy that they wanted to “pet ’em before they eat ’em.”
While Americans find whales and dolphins utterly charming, Japanese find them utterly delicious, even in a day and age when the developed world is allegedly more sensitive to the plight of endangered species, especially the cute and beautiful ones. (Lookisism knows no bounds.) According to the Complaints Choir of Tokyo, “Whales and dolphins are delicious! Please understand Japanese culture.”
I mentioned this to my mother when I was describing my dolphin adventure. She forwarded me this petition to stop the Japanese from killing cetaceans:
There are only 300 northern right whales left, and 99% of blue whales have been wiped out. These majestic giants are endangered species, and their case is being played out across the world, time and again. In fact, one third of all life forms on the planet are on the brink of extinction.
The natural world is being crushed by human activity, waste and exploitation. But there is a plan to save it — a global agreement to create, fund and enforce protected areas covering 20% of our lands and seas by 2020. And right now, 193 governments are meeting in Japan to address this crisis.”
This made me wonder why the Japanese in particular are insensitive to endangered animals. Sure, they find whales delicious, but many people have laid off delicious yet endangered species in the name of avoiding extinction. Many countries have historically hunted whales (that’s mainly why they are endangered in the first place), but Japan alone insists on whaling today.
I told my mom that I was skeptical that a petition would help, but I still wished the Japanese would stop killing cetaceans. I love animals in general, but have always been particularly soft about whales and dolphins. Mom wrote, “It might be hard to reconcile your love of Japanese culture with their bloodthirsty ways…….”
I responded, “As for Japan, no one is perfect. Don’t forget, they sided with the Nazis once, though I’m sure they regret it now. I also don’t dig their perversions, such as the market for used schoolgirls’ panties. You can get them in vending machines in Tokyo. No, I’m not kidding. And from what I hear, it’s perfectly common for men to date young teenage girls. This is not to discount the gifts that Japan has given to the world.”
In the past, I’ve referred to the Japanese, half-kiddingly, as “Those wacky perverts,” while shaking my head and smiling. But back to the whales.
Japanese whaling isn’t even the worst example of this, but I think it’s dangerous to defend one’s hideous practices in the name of “culture.” I mean “hideous” as in wiping out beautiful marine mammal species in order to satisfy the palette. There are worse things. Female genital mutilation comes to mind.
Most damning of all is that Japanese actively encourage eating whale meat as part of maintaining a cultural legacy, as if we were talking about origami:
“Japan has also cited its long history as a whaling nation and its historic reliance on whale meat for protein as reasons why it should be continued to allow to hunt despite the ban. But consumption has become so negligible that, in 2007, local governments had to encourage schools to incorporate whale in their lunch programs, while thousands of tons of whale meat remain stockpiled in freezers, according to Time Magazine.” (Emphasis mine.)
Japan, improve your image to the world and eat something else.
PS: I know that not all Japanese think whaling is OK, so don’t point it out:)
Confession: I know little about Eastern religion. It’s not that I’ve avoided it; it’s just that it rarely comes to my attention. That’s probably a good thing going for it. After all, if Eastern religion isn’t causing problems newsworthy enough to get to me, that means it’s doing all right, since no news is good news. Or so goes my reasoning.
While I do have at least one former Hindu lined up for a Not My God interview, I want to know more about former Buddhists, Taoists, Shintoists, Confucionists, whatever else is out there. I haven’t met too many of you, and I’ve even been to Japan, which at least used to be a Shintoist country (I didn’t really meet anyone who practiced, although I did muchly enjoy the beautiful temples).
So please reply to this post. Or just contact me through the link on the upper right side bar.
Meanwhile, here’s some “dirt” on Eastern religion.
I’m aware enough to know that the Islam-Hinduism conflict in India resulted in violence on both sides. Extreme Hindus called for death of Muslims, although I’m tempted to say that Islam “started it.” Still, this hostility may surprise Americans, many of whom perceive Hinduism as inherently peaceful.
“Buddhism also has to contend with its own extremists. A group known as the Armed Front for the Defense of Sinhalese has been connected to violence against Muslims in Sri Lanka. Many Sinhalese, who are mostly Buddhists, see themselves engaged in a struggle for political and economic power against the minority Tamils, who are mostly Hindus. This has led some to resort to violence to advance the cause of Buddhists in the region.
|The Colbert Report||Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Recap – Week of 5/10/10|
Colbert and House have referenced each other on their shows, and I think the time has come to consummate the “funniest relationship on TV.” Just do it, guys: just make appearances on each others’ shows. In character.
Perhaps the most obvious thing is for House to do his own version of Cheating Death with Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, DFA. I’m not sure how to do this exactly, since it is usually Colbert hawking products of the dubious Prescott Pharmaceuticals (“Where they say, ‘That’s why you have two kidneys.'”) In this version, would House rebut Prescott? Or tell us how to really cheat death by not doing stupid things like smoking, drinking or snorting coke off a hooker’s ass?
Alternatively, House could be just a regular guest on the show and chat about what it’s like to be a world-renowned doctor and stone-cold jerk. Maybe he’d even have something specific to talk about: a tasty new disease, perhaps?
In the interest of reciprocation, Colbert would clearly have to be on an episode of House as a patient. Let’s just say his megalomania is covering up whatever real symptoms exist which in turn are complicated by his staunch refusal of universal health care, or any health care at all that violates the terms of the free market.
What do you guys think?
(Well, House *is* a fictitious atheist, and a really cool one…)
A lot of tangents grew from my NOI post. NOI brought up for me that I haven’t thought much about black atheists, which I’ll write about some other day. Meanwhile, I sought responses from black atheists, especially those from NOI families.
I have many thoughts on racism that I’d like to discuss and get feedback on, but feel hesitant to do so since I’m afraid that no matter what I write, it’ll be misconstrued as racist and I’ll have to defend myself that it’s not. Ugh. It’s dangerous that anyone who brings up legitimate questions, especially ones that criticize, are accused of being up to no good.
The Nation of Islam itself is maddeningly counter-productive, opposing blacks mixing with Caucasians and blacks’ integration into American society, opposing the civil rights movement (!) because it went hand-in-hand with integration, etc. This may sound more like politics than religion, but remember that it’s grounded in NOI mythology and countering the “white supremacy” of Christianity. Because we all know that Islam has always been just super to blacks (cough).
Robert, whose father was NOI, really lent his experience to the post. He pointed out that while Christians criticize NOI, not many atheists (such as Dawkins) seem to do so. Atheists, especially comedians: please give NOI the good bashing it deserves. The comedy about NOI I’ve seen, with one exception, bashes NOI leaders like Farrakhan, who, while he richly deserves it, ignores the problems of NOI itself.
Firstly, please check out the Secular Nation podcast in which David Driscoll and I talk about atheist comedians. Comedians, such as yours truly, are very prominent in new atheism. I can’t think of any similar movement when this was the case. Were comedians very relevant when it came to feminism? Civil rights? Gay rights? Not really… but it’s hard to imagine new atheism without names like Bill Maher and Julia Sweeney.
Since I brought it up in the podcast, I’m now very curious about the Nation of Islam. It occurred to me that I haven’t heard any comedians seize on it, the way they have other religions, including mainstream Islam.
Perhaps this is due to the fact that a non-black comedian making fun of NOI would be perceived as racist. I don’t feel like it truly is racist, since it’s only reporting the truth, but I can understand avoiding the whole hornets’ nest. I know I couldn’t get away with making fun of any black institution. (Unless I were really, really funny.) Are there any black comedians out there who make fun of it?
Comedy aside, in all the media I’ve seen about atheism and its (justified) attacks on religion, none of the atheist media criticized NOI– even though they (justifiably) criticize Islam all the time.
This all-American 20th century take on Islam is one of the fastest-growing religions in the US. While I can understand the sentiments that attract blacks to it, I definitely have some problems with it, not the least of which is its anti-Semitic slant (also homophobic and misogynist slants, which are no day at the beach either). I say this as a Jewish woman, and as someone from West Philadelphia, where it had a large presence. Unlike Scientology or Mormonism, it actually was in my face.
While I don’t know if it is from a reputable source, here is a quote about the NOI mythology.
It is the teaching of Elijah Muhammad that all black men today are a part of this God-race. The black race is thus divine and superior to all other races. Modern day blacks came into existence some 66 trillion years ago when a great explosion ripped the moon from the earth. These people were black and called the tribe of Shabazz. They explored the earth and settled the better places to live, two of which are the Nile Valley and Mecca. Again, neither the Qur’an nor the Bible support such a concept.
W. D. Fard taught that the white man is the result of genetic manipulation by an evil black scientist named “Yakub.” Through a special method of birth control, Yakub bred the black out of his experimental creatures until they were white. This took about 600 years to accomplish. According to the theology of Elijah Muhammad, black really is the symbolic color of good and white symbolic color of evil. His reasoning is that all colors are present in black, and all colors are taken out of white. His conclusion is that the whiter Yakub’s creatures became, the less good there was in them and the more evil there was in them. The final product was so evil, they became devils. Black Muslims call the white man Blue Eyed Devils and blame all of the suffering in the world upon them. The creation of the white man occurred some 6,600+ years ago. Again, this teaching is foreign to both the Qur’an and the Bible.
There is also a rather unique space man mythology associated with the Nation of Islam’s teachings. Elijah Muhammad contended that it had been revealed to him by W. D. Fard, (Allah) that there was a great mother plane (aircraft/spaceship) which is really a small maneuverable planet that orbits as much as forty miles above the earth. Black scientists originally used the mother plane to raise the mountain ranges of the earth by dropping bombs. This great mother plane is equated with the wheel in the vision of Ezekiel. At some time in the future, Allah will bring this mother plane back into the earth’s atmosphere and bomb the cities of the world. The bombs will burrow one mile beneath the cities, and then all explode at a given time. When this happens, the evil that is the unconverted white race will be purged from the world. This aspect of Elijah Muhammad’s doctrine tends to be confusing, because, in the same speech, it starts off being a plane that must return to the atmosphere of the earth every six months of so and ends up being a small self-sustaining world. This doctrine, again, is foreign to both the Bible and the Qur’an.
If any of you are former NOI, or from a family that is NOI but elected not to partake, I’d like to hear from you. For that matter, if you’re black, how do you feel about the Nation of Islam itself?
One more thing: I’m still looking for a place that will pay me to do my act, since this stuff is really hard, so when I do, I want to do more atheist material. If anyone has a hilarious story, please send it to me.
And keep on laughing. It’s a great survival skill.
I just adore Stephen Colbert. Here is one of my favorite clips of his.
As always, Colbert is very insightful. Why should we disturb our kids with accurate labeling? All this time, I’ve been living in bliss, ignorant of the fact that there are trace amounts of alcohol in so-called soft drinks like 7 Up. Which parents put in baby bottles to feed their innocent babies. Sure, I was aware that there were trace amounts of cocaine in Coca Cola, but that’s completely different.
As Ned Flanders put it when opposing science, “There are some things we don’t want to know– important things!”
Which brings me to another question: if ignorance is bliss, why aren’t there more blissful people?
My Facebook friends will remember when I posted about an interesting children’s book about how whales evolved. I love animals in general and have particularly had a fondness for whales and dolphins. While they are beautiful, they are pretty weird animals. Not only that, but their physiology really makes it look like evolution really happened, so I’m guessing whales piss of our creation “scientist” friends.
I still have a question: how did whales evolve to be so large? Their land ancestors were “only” about the size of cows, and now blue whales are the largest animals to ever live on earth. Is it because they had so much to eat they got fat? (Just kidding.) I understand that due to buoyancy they can grow to large sizes, but that doesn’t tell me why it was advantageous for them.
I have heard beautiful whale songs before. They were haunting and it is easy for me to think they were communicative on an almost human level. I was looking at youtube videos for their songs, and while some were beautiful, many were what I suppose wound up on the cutting room floor, because the “songs” sounded more like a big fat guy coughing and burping after a huge French meal. Sorry, whales: you’ve betrayed yourselves as the big fat mammals you are.
Other songs sounded more like monkey shrieks to me. How this “music” came to be thought of as soothing, I don’t know.
Here is one of the videos with nice whale songs.
Hi diddly ho atheisterinos,
I haven’t blogged in a while. I’m feeling, what I might say with as positive a light as possible, less optimistic about the chance of finding an editor or agent for Not My God, which is too bad since I conceived of the idea in the first place because I thought it was interesting and marketable. I’m not saying I’m quitting exactly, but I’d like to change the blog to not just about the personal stories of atheists, but as a showcase for my writing. Keep reading for my rants, raves, questions I don’t know how to research, questions I’m too lazy to research, and, yes, more about atheism.
Meantime, I had so much fun (didn’t we all?) with last year’s Christian Kitsch contest that I’d like to hold another contest of a similar theme. Any ideas? I’m thinking “best desperate explanation for how Noah fit all the animals on the ark” or “things to criticize about Judaism, since it doesn’t give us as much material as Xianity or Islam.” Funny, creative and irritating all at once.
Reply with suggestions, please.
There’s a bitch-ass leak right over my bed
It’s more than raindrops a fallin’ on my head
Moving the bed– don’t like feng shui
Landlord man keeps tellin’ me there’s a roofer on his way
I got the blues
The vernal equinox blues
The bad kind of wet dream
You don’t know my equinox blues
The bulbs are blooming all over town
Except for mine– they’re sleeping in the ground
You know I’m jonesin’ to keep up with the Jones
Ain’t got no tulip that ain’t been postponed
I got the blues
Those vernal equinox blues
Autumnal’s so easy
Can’t deal with those equinox blues
Umbrella’s a joke, turned inside out
Its ribs a breakin’, my heart is breakin’ now
Store gave me a new one, sent me on my way
Broke my heart very next day
I got the blues
The vernal equinox blues
Windproof, my ass–
I just got those equinox blues
No manufacturer label on the umbrella–
musta been Allan Smithee
I wear galoshes, still wet my socks
I’m so blue they should call it “azural equinox.”
Easter bunny don’t visit no Jews
Just got Elijah and he’s drinking my booze
I got the blues
The vernal equinox blues
And where’s my Easter candy?
I can’t beat those equinox blues
Just kidding. This is Not My God, a site for the personal aspect of atheism. I'm putting together a book with that title, having already 20 interviews lined up, but I still want to hear from more of you.
I've expanded the blog to include material not related to atheism, including rants, raves, consumer issues, curmudgeonly matters and other miscellany.
Read more about Not My God on the About page
- October 2016
- October 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 2014
- April 2014
- October 2013
- September 2013
- April 2013
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- January 2011
- November 2010
- September 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009
- April 2009
- March 2009
- February 2009
- January 2009
- December 2008
- November 2008
- October 2008