Category: Stuff (Page 2 of 2)
I just do not like the new HTML5 Logo.
Religion and philosophy have for ages asked questions like “Why are we here” or “what is the purpose of our existence in the universe”. Since they haven’t found any answers yet I like to propose after this weekend two anwers myself. We are here to
- help a godchild to build towers and fortresses from sofa cushions
- to feel the gentle rasp of a cats’ tongue against the tip of our fingers 
Okay, so that’s not very philosophical, but I guess as long as I have a choice I prefer cats and kids to philosophy.
“Dein Wort in Gottes Ohr! – Metaphrasen des Religiösen” is a series of events and speeches hosted by the Berlin venue Ausland – “a non-commercially run venue in berlin for music and performance and related public and non-public events”.
The events will take place on the four sundays before christmas an will, as it is fitting for the season, discuss the role of religion in contemporary society (and, as it is fitting for the Ausland, most of the discussing will be rather critical).
You will find the complete program here. I will be speaking at the 20th of December in a talk titled “Das Ende der Welt im Wandel der Zeit” (“The End of the word in the course of time”) about the way apocalyptic phantasies have been used in science fiction novels over the past 100 years to promote different ideological agendas.
If your in Berlin the days before christmas you might want to come along. Adress is here.
I am, as I believe the phrase runs, “supportive of the LGBT community”, which in practical terms (I’m really not much of a thinker) means that I will probably punch you in the face if you make anti-gay remarks in my vicinity. As important as freedom of speech is, sometimes it has to stand back to basic human decency and, in turn, sometimes decency is best expressed via a slap in the face.
Being, as it were, supportive of the LGBT community it makes me sad to read that Del Martin died last Wednesday at age 87. As early as the mid fifties Martin came out and lived openly as a lesbian, which makes her one of the bravest people I ever heard of, and she helped founding Daughters of Bilitis, the first US lesbian rights organization. Her numerous accomplishments are listed in this obituary by the National Center for Lesbian Rights; her picture went around the world a few months ago when she was finally allowed to marry Phillis Lyon, her sweetheart of 55 years.
Think about this number: 55 years. Most people would kill each other before they’d spend that much together, and they still had enough love to get married.
My best wishes go to Del Martins widow. May it be some consolation that she died only after the world had improved in a matter that was important to her and that she had fought for all her life. I assume this is the best a human being can hope for.
I guess I will think of her when I visit the wedding party of a woman I’ve known since my school days and who has now married her girl friend (unthinkable back then, and possible now only because of brave people like Del Martin).
If you’re looking for a way to commemorate her life in your own home you could pick up a science ficion novel by Ursula LeGuin, because these are books written by a strong woman that have at their core almost every time a committed relationship between two people; or you could pop “If these Walls Could Talk 2” into your DVD player and pay special attention to the “1961” segment, or you could just sit back for a moment and think about if there isn’t some thing you could do to make this world a little better, too.
About one year ago I wrote the first post for this blog. Since then I wrote 117 posts that received 568 comments by 259 different visitors, and the statistic software counted ~ 65 000 visitors all in all (an average of 178 per day). So obviously I’m not an A-List Blogger (whatever that means) but it’s not that bad either. So thank you for visiting me, if there’s anything I can do for you don’t hesitate to ask (obviously that does not necessarily mean I’ll do it, but I will at least answer).
George Lukas’ movie The Return of the Jedi has one of the strangest redemption scenes ever to be shown in cinema: Inmidst of a battle in which thousands die, a man who has supposedly killed billions of sentinent beings and subjugated the survivors to tyranny gets his absolutions after he helps his offspring to defeat the vicious emporer (completly pointless btw. because the subsequent events would have killed the emporer in any case). Yes, I’m perfectly aware that Darth Vader is a fictional character, but emotional images like a scene of forgivness to the father by the son transports a message to to audience, an in this case the message is any kind of crime is ok as long as you say you’re really, really sorry.
But is it, really? Can any crime be forgiven? And who is to grant forgiveness, is it the victims? And in that case is it okay when one victim forgives or do we need to round up a majority of them or all of them to arrange an orgy of absolution?
Exodus International is a christian organisation aims to “cure” gay/lesbian christians from homosexuality. The name is probably meant to be some kind of allegory, like, Exodus will lead you from the barren desert of homosexualty to the promised land of post-maritial heterosexual sex for the purpose of procreation. The choice of name, while not inappropriate, is a bit strange given that the man who led the tribes through the desert never was allowed to enter the promised land himself.
Exodus International cannot possibly “cure” homosexuality because homosexualty is not a disease. Exodus Internationals attempt to “cure” homosexuality is really an exercise in destroying peoples personalities by applying social pressure (we wash your brain so you can come clean, that kind of thing). And while their long term conversion rate from queer to straight is zero, Exodus leaves in it’s wake a visible trail of wrecked lives, and a couple of deaths.
Beyond Ex-Gay – an online community for the survivors of ex-gay expericences – has a reprinted letter and video statements from some former Exodus leaders who stood down from their conviction that homosexuality needs cure and apologized for the damage they had done. Especially the video messages are emotionally powerful – these are a commited, no-nonsense type of people who underwent a significant change for the better. So, their redemption is at hand, or is it.
One thing that puzzles me is that these people still cling to their christian faith. I usually do not like the more notorious atheists because, willfully confusing correlation and causation, they attribute every possible crime to faith if there is a chance that the perpetrator has been exposed to religion at some time of his life (as most people have been). But in this case there is no weasling out or dodging the issue: Almost every religion has instituted some insane policy toward sexuality, and when it comes to gay sex the idea to kill by cure is, horribile dictu, one of the more benevolent approaches. The only way to be a gay christ is to start, for all intents and purposes, your own christian sect that allows for “homosexual tendencys”. What is this religion thing, some kind of buffet where you can pick and choose (“I want some of that heavenly father and a pinch of bodily resurrection, but please hold the hellfire for sodomites”) ? And by the way what’s wrong with saying “gay and lesbian” – do I say I have a “heterosexual tendency”?
But the more important question is the question of forgiveness. To say “I’m sorry” might work for tyrannical galactic overlords, but in real life we expect people to suffer punishment for their crimes before they are allowed to re-enter society (feeling very bad does not actually count as punishment). And most of them seem to have renounced their faith in Exodus when they fell in love with members of the same sex, so things get even worse when you muster a little cynicism and look at their motives: It seems they had little qualms about wrecking other peoples lives up to the point where they wanted to get laid themselves.
I probably shouldn’t get upset about all of this. Some of the victims of anti-gay treatment have in their various blogs signalled forgivness to the penitents. I myself am neither gay nor religious. All this happened in a foreign country, and while most germans would claim to be religious very few would bother to actually do anything about it. But then I think of a friend, how she shook her fist in helpless anger at the TV screen when, just after a particularly nasty child rape scandal within the church, a catholic official declared that homosexuality is a sin. The church that could not even enforce enough self-restraint among it’s employees to spare children from sexual assault now denounced her sexuality as a lesbian? This whole idea that homosexuality needs a cure is a direct attack on people I love.
To stay within in the Star Wars-metaphor from the first paragraph I now should write something on the nature of forgiveness and perhaps conclude with a quip about the death-star of Bethlehem and how it will eventually explode – but then, what would be the point (since it won’t, anyway). So believe whatever you like or even be anti-gay how much you like (this is, after all, free speech territory), but for what little it’s worth, if you go after my friends it’ll take a lot more than to say “I’m sorry” to make me stop being angry at you.
I really didn’t mean to do this. There are so many blogs already, there seemed to be no point in adding another one.
It’s not that I don’t like to write – I’m as vain as the next man, and seeing your thoughts in writing makes them look more important (which undoubtly is the reason why blogs are so popular). It’s just that the stuff I write is usually tailored to specific audiences – speeches at science fiction cons, manuals for software I wrote or adapted, occasional ghostwriting, stuff like that. I’m used to do things for a purpose, and writing for an undefined audience seemed purposeless.
Only I’m a web programmer, and occasionally I have to build sites in wordpress. And by now I have to adapt or write software for wordpress, and I need a place to test the stuff I wrote. So this is the purpose of the blog: testing facility, code bloat ground zero, room for improvement, whatever. And since I have to maintain the software anyway I just as well may write the occasional blog post.
English is not my mother tongue, and I guess it shows. However bad english is a sort of lingua franca among people people who do web stuff (programmers, would-be programmers, users, designers, you name it), and I expect that most people who’ll drop by will do so in search of some web stuff, namely for some code I wrote for the Joomla CMS. To add a further purpose to this blog I’ll add a FAQ for that module (you’ll find the beginning of it in the side bar).
I really didn’t mean to do this, there are so many blogs already. Yet here I am, and already I’m fighting the temptation to go all verbose on you. Count yourself lucky that I can’t wait to get my first post published.
End of first message 😉