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Any old irony?

Can being exposed to too many ridiculous things cause you to lose your sense of irony? I wonder.
It all began when I watched this video by Dream Evil: The Book of Heavy Metal.

I watched it and thought: “omg, what a bunch of posers. Am I a wannabe? YES! Have I no dignity? Obviously not!” I was so unnerved by the stupidity of it all I immediately put the band’s name into my “knowitalreadyitsucks.txt” file. I really have that file and it serves me well because I tend to forget the names of bad bands, comedians etc. and then I read their name somewhere and I check them out again, suffer again and then I’m sick for the rest of the day.
Even reading this part of the lyrics didn’t make me change my mind:

Don’t need no flashy house
No car or ugly wife
The only thing I want
Is what my parent’s don’t

I thought it was a song against people who call people I’d call posers posers. Gods know it wouldn’t be the first one. So it didn’t even occur to me that the song might not be all serious. Until I started reading the comments under the video the next day after playing it to my sister (and telling her “omg i found this band and their liek uber p053r5 lol wtf”). It was then that I first realised that the song and the video were most likely meant ironically as most commenters said so.

I was relieved.

But this is something, I now realised, I had to struggle with before. I remember getting bad marks for essays in German and English classes because I failed to recognise the irony in texts when everyone else recognised it. At the same time people tell me I have a very ironical sense of humour myself.
The problem is this: I’m used to so much ridiculous bullshit that nothing seems particularly unbelieveably to me anymore and thus I don’t have this “Oh, they can’t be serious” reaction when I see another piece of it. The video above, for example, resembles that of Within Temptation’s “Ice Queen” and don’t get me started on the number of bands who’d sing these lyrics and mean them. I also tend to take people seriously no matter what they say or do because I’ve so often seen pain and insecurity caused because people’s honest self-expression was taken to be a joke. Now I see the downside.

Also, whoever gets the reference in the headline will receive a cookie ;)

<3 GW Bush

Let us thank George Walker Bush! Who else could have made so much progress toward the destruction of the US empire in mere 8 years? What thousands of revolutionaries could not do, he did. I open the newspaper and I am glad. I look around me and the changes in attitude that would have taken decades if everything had gone the normal way are happening more and more quickly.
Had the Iraq war been won, had it been more skillfully waged, maybe they would be attacking Iran now. But they can’t.
And it’s not just the Bush administration or the US itself that is losing credibility. As long as the stick is hidden behind the back or the overseer, a slave can made herself believe the stick is not really there but even cognitive dissonance has its limits. Leading the system ad absurdum – this is GW Bush’s biggest achievement. Maybe he’ll get a Nobel peace prize for that one day.

(I don’t know enough about economics to decide whether Bush can also be thanked for the collapse of the banks but I’d love to.)

Warum tröpfeln die Nachrichten aus Bolivien eigentlich so langsam vor sich hin? Mit Google News findet man ja ein paar Artikel aber besondere Relevanz scheint keine Nachrichtenseite – außer Indymedia – den Geschehnissen dort zuzusprechen. Wird so “unter ferner liefen” berichtet. Anscheinend beginnt dort nun der schon lange schwelende Staatsstreich auszubrechen und irgendwie interessiert es keinen.
Schon vorgestern wurden Regierungsgebäude gestürmt und die Opposition versuchte, die Grenzen zu schließen. Nun haben “Sprecher der rechten Opposition gestern ein Ultimatum an alle “Venezolaner und Kubaner” in Bolivien gerichtet, innerhalb von drei Tagen das Land zu verlassen”, außerdem wurde der US-Botschafter ausgewiesen (das findet noch am meisten Beachtung) und Venezuela hat nun aus Solidarität das Gleiche getan, außerdem gab es die ersten Todesopfer.
Gestern vor 35 Jahren fand in Chile der Coup gegen Salvador Allende statt… der perfekte Zeitpunkt für ein Reenactment also?

Manifestation

Folgendes hab ich vor ein paar Minuten geschrieben:

Wer mit Wilhelm Reichs Begriff des “mechanistisch denkenden Menschen” Probleme hat, muss sich, so finde ich, einfach nur mit diesem CERN-Projekt beschäftigen. Wir wollen wissen, warum wir hier sind, das ist eine der Begründungen für den Bau dieser Maschine. Wir wollen wissen, warum wir hier sind, daher nehmen wir Milliarden von Euro und bauen die größte Maschine aller Zeiten. Jetzt sehe ich auch die Weisheit, die in “Per Anhalter durch die Galaxis” steckt. Die Anwort wird nämlich “42” sein. Eine Antwort, die für eine Maschine verständlich und eventuell völlig korrekt ist, aber keine Wahrheit über die menschliche Existenz enthält.

Dann hab ichs gelöscht weil es mir doof vorkam. Es gibt schließlich einen Unterschied zwischen dem physikalischen Grund im Sinne von “Machbarkeit” und dem philosophischen Grund, dem “Sinn” unserer Existenz und ich dachte, ich würde diese beiden zu Unrecht gleichsetzen wenn ich das so schreibe.
Dann las ich dies: Die Physiker versuchen nun also, mit dem Teilchenbeschleuniger das “Gottesteilchen” zu finden. Ich nehm alle Selbstkritik zurück.

Nun hoffe ich, dass aus irgendeinem Grund Antimaterie in dem Labor entsteht und uns dieses Problems entledigt. Abgesehen von der oben beschriebenen Albernheit des Experiments steckt dahinter auch eine unglaubliche Arroganz: In einem Zeitalter von AIDS, Artensterben und angekündigtem Atomkrieg (ich wollte mich auf den Buchstaben A beschränken, sonst wär das hier ausgeufert: Albernheit, Arroganz, Beschränktheit, Borniertheit, Dekadenz…) Milliarden von Euro sowie Unmengen von Energie und “Ressourcen” in ein Experiment zu stecken, das das Leben von 99.9999991% der Menschen nicht im mindesten verbessern wird, ist schwer zu verstehen. Theoretisch. Praktisch verstehe ich es besser, als es mir lieb ist, da es perfekt innerhalb der Logik des Systems ist (Wie oft kann sich eine Handlungsweise eigentlich ad absurdum führen? Ich könnte jeden Tag sowas schreiben und mir würden nie die Themen ausgehen! Morgen: Pestizide – Wir vergiften unser Essen. Übermorgen: Atombomben – Ich bin tot doch du bist toter. Klingt wie StudiVZ-Gruppen.)

Noch ein Wort zu der Befürchtung, dass ein schwarzes Loch die Erde verschlingen könnte: Bevor die erste Atombombe gezündet wurde, waren sich die Erschaffer nicht sicher, dass diese Tat nicht eine Kettenreaktion in Gang setzen würde, die das ganze Universum vernichten würde. In den 90ern startete die NASA Raketen in den Weltraum, die mit genug Plutonium versehen waren, die halbe (menschliche) Erdbevölkerung zu töten, sollte etwas schief gehen. Von den Atomkraftwerken um uns herum gar nicht erst zu reden – in Europa geschieht ja seit ca. 1 1/2 Jahren praktisch jeden Monat irgendwo ein Zwischenfall. Ich bin keine Physikerin und weiß nicht, wie ernst die Gefahr, die von diesem Experiment ausgeht, ist, aber wenn sie da ist, ist es kein Einzelfall, sondern der alltägliche Wahnsinn einer wahnsinnigen Kultur.

The Bottomless Abyss

6-Year-Old Stares Down Bottomless Abyss Of Formal Schooling

Local first-grader Connor Bolduc, 6, experienced the first inkling of a coming lifetime of existential dread Monday upon recognizing his cruel destiny to participate in compulsory education for the better part of the next two decades, sources reported.

[...]

Basic math—which the child has blissfully yet to learn—clearly demonstrates that the number of years before he will be released from the horrifying prison of formal schooling, is more than twice the length of time he has yet existed. According to a conservative estimate of six hours of school five days a week for nine months of the year, Bolduc faces an estimated 14,400 hours trapped in an endless succession of nearly identical, suffocating classrooms.

[...]

“When you consider that it doesn’t include another four years of secondary education, plus five more years of medical school, if he wants to follow his previously stated goal to grow up to be a doctor like his daddy, this will come as an interminably deep chasm of drudgery and imprisonment to [Connor],” said Wasserbaum. “It’s difficult to know the effect on his psychological well-being when he grasps the full truth: that his education will be followed by approximately four decades of work, bills, and taxes, during which he will also rear his own children to face the same fate, all of which will, of course, be followed by a brief, almost inconsequential retirement, and his inevitable death.”

Although I usually refuse to contemplate anything involving Lauri Ylönen, I reinterpreted the song “Life burns” when I read this. “we have no sympathy for the lost souls / we’ve chosen the path of disgrace / we give this life to our children / and teach them to hate this place “

There seems to be a certain duty to be unhappy in our culture. A few centuries ago, this was manifested in a religious way – we are all sinners, the joys of this life are inevitably tainted and we must mourn and pray for forgiveness, our tortured god before our eyes – now it’s work. The only excuse to be missing from work or school – except for a few days of holidays a year – is to be ill. The only excuse to retire early is that your job has already crushed you and made you permanently ill and unfit for work. The only excuse not to get a job at all is that you are disabled in one way or another and are thus already fulfilling your unhappiness quota. If you are healthy and don’t work, you are also condemned to unhappiness through low social recognition, unhealthy food and most likely living in a block of concrete.

I’m not going to write about the mystical transformation of Hitchens’ political views after a metaphorical airplane hit his – equally metaphorical – brain. I’m not going to write about how it’s no longer cool to trash Hitchens because everyone has done it already. I haven’t, at least not in a full text. I’m not even going to write about his past admiration for Saddam Hussein, although I laughed heartily after first reading about it and I encourage you to read the linked article just for fun. One could dismiss this as an error of the past and I would if he hadn’t harped on forever about George Galloway’s alleged connection to Hussein in their debate about Iraq . He who sits in the grasshouse shouldn’t throw swines.

Instead, I will write about his ‘analysis’ of religion. I haven’t read his book “God is not great – How religion poisons everything”, although such an original title with such a never-before-used pun would certainly encourage everyone to do so. I watched the interview on the Daily Show though (the one in 2007, not the one about Iraq) and I was quite surprised by what I heard.

H: Why do all religions hate the birth canal? What is a penis without a birth canal? What god can you name that was not born of a virgin? And I have the whole list in my book, it’s all there, every god [incomprehensible, ?as a matter of time?] was either like Buddha born out of a slit out of the side because you don’t wanna be born in the other way…

S: And our scripture is revelation [incomprehensible]

H: Aztek… Egyptian, they’re all born of virgins, why is this? It’s some ghastly hatred of that wonderful canal which is supposed to be a one-way street for religious purpose. Loathing of menstrual blood, dislike of foreskins, do I have to draw you a picture?

S: So your problem with religion is not so much the wars, it’s just not enough *beep*

H: It’s…

S: It’s the lack of fucking (aka *beep*)

H: *nods* Now my picture sharpens up. If you could reduce it to any one thing, it would be fear of the dark, fear of death and hatred of sex. This is not a good beginning for morality. It’s not a good beginning for ethics. It’s not a good beginning for intelligent discussion. We’d be better off without it.

First of all, who uses as mechanical a term as “that… er, wonderful canal” and even then slides around in his chair as if it’s something embarrassing? Certainly that isn’t a sign of a healthy relationship with *his* anima. But let’s get to his statement. He states that all gods are born by virgins or otherwise not conceived and born in the normal way, that religions hate sex and are essentially born out of that and of fear of death and the dark. Which leads me to one simple question to which I think I already know the answer: How many religions does this man know? And the answer is probably 4 (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism – in that order).

Hitchens was interviewed by FOX on the same topic and they even had a list of gods supposedly born by virgins. The list was completely incorrect, of course (It even had Horus in it!). There are gods who are supposedly born by virgins, there are gods who aren’t. There are religions that hate sexuality, there are religions that don’t. There are religions that encourage fear of death, there are religions that strive to take away that fear. Hitchen’s generalisations only show that he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.

So when I listen to him talking about the supposed hatred of sexuality all religions have, I think of the Greek goddess Baubo and her talking vagina, I think of Pan and Cernunnos, I think of the Celtic Beltain celebrations, symbolising the fertility of the reborn nature, and of the contemporary version of this ritual, the “Great Marriage” in the Wicca religion, I think of Tantric Yoga, I think of Odins frequent affairs with giantesses and Freya having sex with dwarves, I think of sexual magic.
Even if you have never heard of these things, you probably have heard of Greek god Zeus who slept with – or rather, raped – every woman he could get his hands on. Although rape certainly does not represent an affirmative view of sexuality – the opposite, really – this well-known example alone contradicts the statement that “all gods are born by virgins”.

When I listen to him stating that all religions hate vaginas and birth canals, my first thought is of the Venus figurines. These prehistoric representations of naked women – some of the earliest known religious symbols humans created – alone should shatter the notion that religions have always been as male-centered as today’s world religions undoubtedly are. But this kind of spirituality didn’t stop in the paleolithic as an increasing amount of literature on matriarcal cultures shows. And the contemporary revival of neo-pagan religions and goddess-worship goes on to prove the same thing.

When he says that all religions feed upon the fear of death, many things come to mind as well, such as reports of people in ancient Greece who participated in the Rites of Eleusis and afterwards proclaimed they would never fear death again. Such as the goddess Nuit saying in the Liber AL vel Legis, the prophetic text of the religion of Thelema: “I give unimaginable joys on earth: certainty, not faith, while in life, upon death; peace unutterable, rest, ecstasy; nor do I demand aught in sacrifice”. The invention of hell is one of the Abrahamic religions: it is not universal.

So what does this short overview show? Nothing new, really: Hitchens once again poses as an expert on something he has no idea about. He makes broad generalisations about ‘religion’ when he obviously knows very few religions and even those only in a superficial manner. This is of course something he can only go public with because he can expect his audience not to know more than he does and not to have the intention to find out either.

Ein zusätzliches h gibt Woerthern ja in vielen Fällen den Anschein des Alterthümlichen und ist deshalb auch auf Mittelaltermärkten oft anzutreffen. In manchen Fällen ist es allerdings thunlichst zu vermeiden.

Das Bild ist vom Mittelalterlich Spectaculum in Bückeburg dieses Jahr. Zunächst hat mich der Schriftzug sehr überrascht. Hätte ich hingehen und genauer nachfragen sollen? Vielleicht war es ja auch gar kein Missverständnis. Vielleicht ist es wie in “Biedermann und die Brandstifter”: Alle glauben, es ist in Wirklichkeit ja eh Met und nicht Meth gemeint, daher prüft keiner nach und der Stand verkauft in aller Öffentlichkeit Methamphetamin.

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