Archive for March, 2011

Masterpieces of spam

March 31, 2011

I took a look in my spam filter today; seems the order of the day is vague nasty instead of the usual vague nice.

Thus Mr. Lustrzanka tries vague criticism:

obviously like your web site but you need to check the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very troublesome to tell the truth nevertheless I’ll surely come back again.

Mr. Wpol[…]mamymo[…]neseo (or Insanely Long Nick, as we call him) tries vague disappointment:

I expected much more from this article. I found it on Yahoo and hoped it will be better

And Mr. O.W. tries vague outrage, and also the linking-to of exercise DVDs:

I’ve come too far to accept to the demands of the republican fringe!

Why someone who has come so far as to be employed peddling exercise DVDs is so particularly incensed by the Republican fringe, I do not know. Possibly Mr. Huckabee has indicated the Bible is the only manual a Real American needs for nutrition and exercise? “No figs — plenty of swimming — try the Noah-Jesus Weight Loss Method”?

Mr. My Website even stoops as low as this:

japan is in a crisis right now

That is not only a downer in itself, but also a downer in the way it is used. Mr. My Website is merely link-spamming, that is, trying to elevate the search results of his scraped-together pile of copy-paste for a future sale; Ì might react more harshly if “japan is in a crisis right now” linked to Viagra.

Japan will rise again, but not that way.

But is this the new wave of spam, then? Are we doomed to be insulted, as well as spammed? Will the next piece instruct me to perform autorectal operations with a sideways rake and expire, and encourage the purchase of enlargement measures?

That is not a future I want to live in.

Then again, maybe there still is hope for the old way, for Mr. Penis Enlargement still tries:

I like this website its a master peace ! Glad I found this on google .

I like that. Maybe there is still hope for courteous spam. And maybe I should change my tagline: “Masks of Eris: its a master peace !”

Iron book kerfuffle

March 31, 2011

So I come across a BBC News item about a 2005–7 discovery of 70 iron books, bound with lead, in Jordan. Books possibly from the very early days of Christianity; books now in the news because a naughty Bedouin took them and ran into Israel with them. A kerfuffle arose; the Jordanian authorities are alleging events as above, and demanding the return of the books, and their instrument in this is a research team led by a David Elkington.

Unfortunately he seems to be the David Elkington featured here, the man who for 20 years “has been led on a revelatory trail through world mythology, linguistics and philology into geophysics, architecture, acoustics, music, neuro-physiology, theology and still further into the all-encompassing, resonant atmosphere of the planet.”

The man whose book featured there, “In the Name of the Gods”, has a back flap text that begins with this:

Everything that exists does so because of vibration.

Matter comes into being because energy vibrates — any science book will tell you that. But understand the science of vibration, learn how to use it and you will have the key to…

Well, everything.

— and goes downhill from there.

Really downhill. Go read the blurb yourself; I lack the skill to abbreviate such an interesting theory. It has Templars and Pyramids in it and everything.

All of a sudden, despite the enthusiastic expert opinions in the BBC article, I’m feeling a whole lot less optimistic.

Returning to the Google results page, this page snippet jumps into my eyes, and engages in violent ocular intercourse with them: “David Elkington is at present studying for a doctorate, research for which comprises most of the text of ‘In the Name of the Gods’.”

Which is the book above.

Ye Gods.

And the BBC article: “One of the few people to see the collection is David Elkington, a scholar of ancient religious archaeology who is heading a British team trying to get the lead books safely into a Jordanian museum.”

I have lost all hope.

A few bits of googling more, and I hit a collection of articles about the matter with this teaser as a preface:

I met with British Archeologist David Elkington who heads the British research team investigating the find during early March 2010 and was sworn to secrecy about this discovery and the huge implications that could follow. There is still much more going on behind the scenes than has so far not been disclosed. David and his wife, whom I also met had been given armed protection which was the result of both of them being shot at during this investigation and also receiving death threats. Someone it seems does not want the information on these tablets released.

Paranoid emphasis in the original.

And then, with this sentence, I go beyond no hope to the other side: “Davids new book is about to be published: The Lead Codices.”

Ah, I see.

The item is in the Daily Mail, the proper home of such items, too: am not surprised to read they’ve interpreted “some of the books were sealed” and “sealed books were common in early Christianity, see the Revelation references” as the unholy hybrid amalgam “sealed books of the Revelation, now found!”

One wonders if the Mail thinks they cause or cure cancer.

The best headline, and the only ray of light in this mess, is over on Gawker: “Possible Da Vinci Code Prequel Unearthed”; also, they quote a Daily Telegraph story which has some honest skepticism in it.

Also, and as a final link, a real genuine expert (Larry Hurtado) appears on the coffinside of this dubious story, a hammer in one hand and a box of nails in the other.

The more I see of discoveries like this, the more I begin to feel everyone should be shooed out of the every single place within a thousand miles of Jerusalem, and real honest archaeologists (and only them) let in for a few decades to do their desire without all the green ink people, forgers and penny-chasers. Then maybe there’d be a better picture of the past, and less of this nonsense.

Also, the more I see of discoveries like this, the more I bless myself (praise Eris, Glycon and Megatron) for going into mathematics. I would have a brain aneurysm if I had to deal with people mutilating my chosen field like this.

Dear Finnish people,

March 30, 2011

My friends, my relatives; my countrymen. I would have a question for you. That question would be as follows.

What the hell?

I wake up, check the news, and find myself looking at abominations like this:

KOK 20.1
KESK 18.1
SDP 18.1
PS 17.2
VIHR 9.0
VAS 7.3
KD 4.6
RKP 3.8
MUUT 1.8

Those are recent support numbers for various Finnish political parties; and those are not the numbers to have a month before the parliamentary election.

Why that is so, is because of one of those parties; but let me first tell what those abbreviations stand for.

KOK 20.1% – Kokoomus / National Coalition Party (liberal conservative)
KESK 18.1% – Keskusta / Centre Party (centrist liberal)
SDP 18.1% – Sosiaalidemokraatit / Social Democratic Party (social democrats (well duh))
PS 17.2% – Perussuomalaiset / True Finns (crazy assholes)
VIHR 9.0% – Vihreät / Green League (green liberals (?))
VAS 7.3% – Vasemmistoliitto / Left Alliance (eco-socialists (that’s what Wikipedia tells me…))
KD 4.6% – Kristillisdemokraatit / Christian Democrats (well duh)
RKP 3.8% – Ruotsalainen kansanpuolue / Swedish People’s Party (liberals; for the Swedish-speaking minority)
MUUT 1.8% – Muut / Others (various yahoos)

As you may note from those descriptions, my question above arises from the party currently polling numbers that might make it the fourth largest party in the Parliament, one of a new Big Four to replace the uninteresting Big Three; a party that may get into the cabinet, or even (I can’t believe people are suggesting this) get the prime minister’s position: the odious twerps of the True Finns.

That’s their own chosen name in English; I think the Finnish name, “Perussuomalaiset”, translates directly as “Basic Finns” or, if you were on a Coca-Cola marketing mood, “Finns Classic”.

What these true, basic and classic characteristics are, are for the most part various sullen hostilities that a lot of Finns have, and that have so far been too uncouth to be so directly advocated on the political scene. The True Finns are, in my opinion, if not advocating these hostilities, then at least riding an implicit support of them as much as they can.

One’s a grumbling, mean-spirited, uncharitable hostility towards immigrants and foreigners — not that they’re racists, the party races to note, but they question the wiseness of extensive immigration. They’re wishing for a discussion; Sweden Democrats-lite or Geert Wilders-like, who of course are unreasonable people but they got lynched didn’t they? And they make questions about assimilation, while their elder supporters mumble that gol dang it, them furriners oughta throw away all their stupid furriner cultural package if they wants to live in Finland, and take up the stupid Finnish cultural package, when in a land do as is the land’s way, mumble mumble, the land’s way or the highway, mumble grumble.

This is echoed from the other wing of their members, from the angry young men who while not xenophobes dislike, hate and question anything that’s unfamiliar or different. No, they have great admiration for other cultures as long as them’s not the cultures of brown people. (But they’re not racists! They’re just “asking uncomfortable questions”.) And they place a great value on diversity sharia sharia SHARIA! Honor killings! Burkhas! Razzmatazz! Blind bigoted xenophobia! Oh wait I mean human rights. And as they were saying, let’s kick those people out back to the hellhole they came from, or at least make them do the wife-beating in a way we’re accustomed to.

The first wing takes up the refrain again: as if threatening der Natural Spirit and Wholeness and Grit of the Finnish Heroes of the Second World War the Nation of Blood and Super Heroes was not enough, there’s then these… university people. Which use big words and are out of touch with the real people, the real people who have sweat in their armpits and shit between their teeth, or the like. The people who have the smarts, not some eedjucashun.

And the politicians, them fat cats, they’re all corrupt and selfish and out of touch. Them’s talking of tax rates and parliamentary procedure and whatnot, when it’s plain as a very plain nose that the people need to have various many things for free for everyone, and also pay less taxes. Why don’t the deciders see that we hate them. Sullenly.

Oh, and them arts? We’ll support art only if it’s Finnish art! None of this Euro nonsense! Or the feminist sensitive robe-wearing gay modern stuffs! We wants real art, and we knows it when we sees it! True art only! Reflecting the true sober spirit of the… Finnish identity… we’re not racists, we’re proud patriotic nationalists and there’s a difference, yes there is.

Also, morals? We’re all for morals! Unlike the sick faggots… sorry, that was a representative who is not representative of the views of our party. As I was saying, these Satanic hippie group orgies… sorry, that representative was expressing a personal opinion. Them all fagits will burn in Hail… don’t interrupt, next with animals as I was… Please disregard him; he is old. Now we’re popularly minded and Christianly social and rah rah hurray Finland, and what’s with this faggoty bureaucracy, hey, I’m just asking, hey, what’s with that? And… and… well, you can’t put a wooden leg on a cow. That’s why this EU stuff will never work. You can’t put a wooden leg on a cow. And I’ll never back down from that!

Also, crime? We’re against it! Tougher punishments! Law and order! No foreign aid! Politics without pity! Every man for himself! And we’ll pull through this together! Focus on the farmfolk! Focus on the cityfolk! For the young! For the old! For the middle-aged also! If you have blue people, we’re for them too! True Finns for the blues! The establishment… what did it ever do to us?

As you may gather from the hyperbolic generalization (repeat after me: hyperbolic generalization — so I hope) of the screed above: the True Finns are nationalistic populists. I shudder to write this, but they’re a bit like the American Tea Party whackjobs; less so, because Finnish politics probably are in the mild limp pinko territory to any American observer, and Finland doesn’t have quite the same tradition of Bible-thumping theatrical jackassery. (No, the Finnish tradition is sullen grumbling glaring xenophobic hatred.)

The thing with them is, they haven’t been fighting for the place of the biggest party for long. Four years ago, in the previous parliamentary elections, they got 4.05% of the vote, and that was their high. Now, by that most recent poll, they’re at 17.2%. As I don’t think there has been time for any mass dumbening of the Finnish people, I can only blame the economic downturn and the tendency of people to latch to whatever seems comforting when the times get tough. And what’s more comforting than a populist yelling all’s the fault of someone else, and things are simple, actually, and some mythical nationalistic grit, flavored with a disunited hodge-podge of every possible rightist and leftist cliche, will get us back into der uncomplicated Happy Days of der Finnish Dream when everyone was white, straight, honest and went into the church every single fucking Sunday and there were none of these darkies around. (Must not mention Weimar Germany… oh for fuck’s sake, must not mention… these small-minded bastards are not worthy!)

A final illustration, probably worth more than all of the spittle above:

In a TV show the kind of a caricature that crowds the True Finn ranks is your typical fat balding xenophobe neighbor uncle that would encounter that which he abhors in an episode of thirty minutes or less: he’d force-meet a foreigner, a Muslim, a gay atheist librul hippie academic, and so encountering realize them’s just people too, and his prejudices are exaggerated and silly, and he would be reformed.

In reality that encounter never happens, and then these yahoos go and vote for the True Finns.

* * *

PS. (post scriptum, not Perussuomalaiset!) One may ask where I stand on the political landscape, after I’ve made so clear where I don’t.

I think I’m somewhere on the leftie side. Free schooling for everyone, more taxes, a eunuch nanny state and tentacle porn for all!

PPS. Might as well air another part of my disgust for these chaps. It’s not just that they have these stupid, heartless and/or ruthlessly romantic views; it’s that ten years ago, when I was eighteen, I was just like them. I refer to that as the “smug, prissy, ignorant prick” phase of my life; it’s what happens when you assume your opinions are right without bothering to take a close look at them.

Cursed nostalgia

March 26, 2011

And in our continuing, ancestral series of musics that have caught my fancy — a series whose glowing ancestralness may be somewhat embellished — here is Dick Gaughan with “No Gods (And Precious Few Heroes)”. Lyrics here.

The song’s written by a Brian McNeill, and it is (says Gaughan) a “searing indictment on the tendency for Scots to use romantic myths about an illusory heroic past as a deflection from dealing with unpleasant political realities”.

To which I just want to add, if only only in Scotland, but no. And even if only in Scotland and Finland but no, not even that, bugrit.

(Came across that when trying to decide which Gaughan CD to buy. Any with Stand Up For Judas on it would do!)

A brief virtual Erisian service

March 26, 2011

#1 : SERMON

We come together today…

Wait, no; we are Discordians, are we not? We do not come together; verily, as St. Mal has said, we Discordians stick apart.

For if there is a lone reed, that reed is easily broken.

And if there are many reeds, in a bundle, then won’t there be some moron with a chainsaw and the bundle’s cut in half real easy.

But suppose one of the reeds is in Atlanta; another in Helsinki; a third in the middle of Lake Uvs Nuur, Mongolia.

That’s some reeds that are safe — a distributed small stick security system that works no matter how paranoid you are.

They see you.

Or suppose there’s some reed fungus. Then those reeds in a bundle are in a real pickle! Or if someone steals the reed bundle, the whole damn fascis. What then?

And if you’re a lone reed, what if a dog comes along and piddles on you. Or takes you in its teeth and buries you somewhere. What a pickle that’d be!

This is all highly metaphorical, as I am sure you understand: the dog is the Pope. And Lake Uvs Nuur is the Pope, too.

And Mongolia is a kennel!

And that’s why we Discordians are told to stick apart. Because of the dogs. And like dogs, sometimes we too must come together. To gang on a rabbit maybe. And that rabbit, my friends, my fellow husks in Eris, that rabbit is the Man. And so, when you go mindfucking, do so in company, in memory of this person who is the person you do it in memory of, and do it regularly. Because sanity is defined by the majority.

All fail Discordia.

* * *

#2 : READING

From the Book of Vile Darkness:

The world is a vortex of colors, lights, noise and screaming delirium.

Those in the world are grotesque hulks, fleshy bulks droning and swaying to the tune of blind idiot pipes which are the voice of the world, the voice of chaos.

This all is true, and this too: There is no friend anywhere.

What this means is that tranquility is not the natural state of anyone; and it is not a state that is stable, or easy to get to.

Worry not; tranquility is not a state to be desired, either.

Join the dance! It is not that all others are grotesque swaying hulks, and you a precious flower — you are one of us hulks too; come, sway!

The world is a vortex of many faces; you are one of them. This pandemonium of cachinnation and flickers is your natural home. There is no friend anywhere; there is no place to run to; no safehold walled away from the world’s tumult. There is no enemy anywhere; have no fear for this is where you belong.

Come, dance! The voice of the world is the voice of chaos, the voice of discord, and it is the tune for the sweetest dance of all.

* * *

#3 : MUSIC (use your imagination!)

Let us chant a bit. With three choirs, two flutes and an oboe. Also a ceremonial exhibiter of hot dog buns.

* * *

FIRST CHOIR

What is the voice I hear ringing?

What the voice that comes calling?

What that clash of tones, that collapse of ordered cosmoses, that din of life?

What the voice which I follow, eager, willing, hand and cock alike stretched out?

Lo, it is She; it can be no-one else.

It is She.

It is She.

It is Eris.

All hail Eris.

All praise Discordia.

* * *

SECOND CHOIR

What is the voice I hear singing?

What the voice with tones falling?

What that laugh of spheres, that echo of careless origins, that din of strife?

What the voice which I follow, eager, willing, hand and cunt alike stretched out?

Lo, it is She; it can be no-one else.

It is She.

It is She.

It is Eris.

All praise Eris.

All hail Discordia.

* * *

THIRD CHOIR

Yes!

Yes!

Oh yes!

Don’t stop!

Oh, Goddess!

Shake those buns!

* * *

#4: ORGY

(Help yourself.)

* * *

And to quote John Hodgman, “That is all.”

“Do not submit!”, or religious propaganda in Finland

March 23, 2011

There are people that make me wish I was gay.

Mostly religious people who make me want to be as far from their revolting mass of stupidity and smugness as I can.

Suppose a campaign organized by several movements and organizations close to the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church, aimed at the young, was titled “Älä alistu!” (“Do not submit!”)

What’s your guess, what is that campaign all about?

Could it be a blindingly un-self-aware attack on Islam, which is Arabic for “submission”? (“Do not submit… to that god.”)

Could it have something to do with the sad lives of academic paper referees? (“Do not submit… that crap.”)

Well, neither. It is all about the gays. (“Do not submit… and incidentally, we are clueless asshats!”)

The campaign says the young need not submit to the browbeating of the society, the media, and their friends, and cavort around in blatant homo- and bisexualism. No, they need to listen to God, who will say (a) gay bad, and (b) I cure gay!

The feathers on this dead turkey include all manner of non sequiturs and pop psychologies: the star presentation is the video testimony of one Anni, an “ex-bisexual”, who tells as her understanding of God’s will that it would be wrong to be in a relationship with another woman since one of them would be the “man” in it, and hence would not the able to be a full woman, and being created a full woman with a desire to be a fabulous woman, that would make her and Jesus sad.

I wish I was kidding. (And gay.)

Then it’s with this cavalcade:

  • “but abstinence from sex works okay too”
  • “God can change you”
  • “I prayed and the Ghost came to me!”
  • “I went to this unspecified camp where I decided to dedicate my life to Jesus!”
  • “My girlfriend was so horribly angry when I told I wanted to be a hetero!”
  • “It says in the Bible I must be a hetero!”
  • “I decided I wanted back to Heaven to my Father!”
  • “After half a year of praying God to take this all away, take this attraction, this dirty filthy attraction away, it went away! It was God’s will!”
  • “When I was ready to accept God’s will God changed me!”
  • “It’s difficult to believe such a miracle could happen!”
  • “In the Church people try to shush me, say it’s a private business, but if we don’t talk of God’s will in the Church, where then? Where do people get the seed for talking this over with God?”
  • “All that God’s made is in us, but also all the world’s put into us, i.e. the original sin (and though I will not draw the connection can you see it?)”
  • “I’m a living example of getting rid of that part of oneself!”
  • “I can love women cleanly, purely now! As friends! Nothing more! And it’s better, really!”
  • “I trust in the Bible! I don’t care what people think!”
  • “To encourage others: Accept what you are, bring it to God, and let God talk to you and oh trust him, hear what he says, then ask for help! He can work miracles! He worked for me!”
  • “I need a man by my side!”

and the like, ten minutes of this tripe, propaganda aimed at the mild believers and all the others. That-all ends with Gal 5:1 where the do-not-submit name comes from, and with this triptych:

“Jumala on lahjoittanut sinulle elämän. / Olet vapaa tekemään omat valintasi. / Miten sinä haluat elää?”

That is, “God has gifted you with life. / You’re free to make your own choices. / How do you want to live?”

And the answer apparently is, your choice better be how God wants or you will be wrong, dirty, incomplete and not happy. (At least she didn’t mention hellfire. Apparently not youthful enough.)

The most widely commented quote is this: “If some murderer can redeem himself, why not a homosexual?” (“Jos joku murhaaja pystyy tekemään parannusta, niin miksi ei sitten homokin?”) Which is a brilliant bait: if you scream this equates homosexuals with murderers, the religious odium-thrower can sniffily note this is not exactly what the quote says, and derail the conversation there. Meanwhile, it remains obvious to all readers that it is just impossible to say that sentence unless the equality is in one’s head and one is either incredibly oblivious or wilfully baiting for a reaction.

According to the video Anni is twenty now, has a boyfriend, and dreams of a career in psychology; I assume as a practitioner, not as an exhibit. I wonder how prominently psychological training shows the sad truth of what happens when people try to “cure” homosexuality, whether with prayer or by other means.

The video is narrated in a nervous and (to my ear) occasionally near-teary monotone. It never shows the girl’s face, and says this is for reasons of security. There’s no mention of Anni (“not her real name!”) being harassed prior to the video’s publication, and she doesn’t seem to be in the closet (ha!) about her antipathy, so I assume the anonymity is either to cynically create the appearance of persecution, or because of the likely reaction to the video.

When one goes to visit a random Finnish forum where commenting is allowed, the level of arguments from the antipathy side (whether young or old) does not improve, but vitriol does. One often raised idea is that “Gay bad because if there were no heteros WE WOULD ALL GO EXTINCT snigger snigger let’s see them homos breeding!” Each time I see that one I can’t help thinking, extinct? If only.

As said, this is a campaign by a few more conservative youth and missionary organizations more or less affiliated with the Church, some even funded by the churchgoers’ tax money; but they’re not the Church. Archbishop Kari Mäkinen himself has quickly and loudly cried these prats do not represent the Church’s view. The view apparently is that (a) gays are nice, okay and God accepts you as you are and there’s nothing wrong with being one and oh don’t go away, and (b) because Those Other People are so active in the Church, we’re not going to marry you gays or anything; hope you don’t mind.

The reaction to this can be best clocked by the site eroakirkosta.fi (“leave the church”), which is run by a few freethinking souls and allows you to submit your note of separation electronically, in a matter of minutes. They run statistics; the usual rate is 50 souls lost (eh) per day; some ten times that left yesterday (Tuesday) as this whole fetid mess hit the news fan, and the projection for today (Wednesday) is several times more.

This is small potatoes compared to last October, when in a television debate over the whole gay business Päivi Räsänen (a she), the leader of the Finnish Christian Democrats, the 5% party of those with more religion than humanity, voiced similar views. As did a bishop, as did a few others, while the rest of the debaters did a flat what. Then, too, the poor Archbishop issued a similar protest; but the Church still bled double the rough usual rate of around 40 000 that year.

Here’s for the same more! (See this post and the links in it for more on that.)

(The again, this “usual rate” of 40k per year is accurate only for the past four-five years; looking back a few decades the number of joiners is steady at around 10k or less, while those that leave saw back and forth between that and 80k, with an average of maybe 20k or slightly less. The figure more pleasing to my eyes is the percentage of those baptismed into the Church of all that are born: that’s dropped from 90% to 80% in the last decade. There are around 5 million people in Finland… and one day we will all be free!)

(Free of this particular error, a Lutheran God with a free selection of hateful baggage, anyway.)

(I don’t seem to be able to wrap this post up. Not that leaving the Church equals hardcore insta-atheism, but (I’d say) most Finns are practically atheists already (apatheists?). When they leave the Church, this apathy becomes official. And as they leave, the Church gets less tax money, less prestige, less reason for really humanitarian people to operate under its umbrella; and the Church is one step closer to moving from irrelevance to insignificance to oblivion.)

(Meanwhile, they’re not doing much harm, except these conservative eedjits and their propaganda against healthy sexuality and other modern causes.)

The state of the religious apocalypse novel, 2011

March 21, 2011

Dear readers,

The religious apocalypse novel is in a rut. Consider other “genres” of similar stupendous mayhem: the lone outcast Dr. Frankenstein has given way to scientifiction Victorian villains and they to greedy megacorporations as the source of novel biological terrors: and those terrors have similarly mutated from single lightning-powered stitch-men into Moreau’s man-beasts, and they into all manner of hyperpredatory animals and aliens (Scott Sigler‘s Ancestor and Infected; the Piranha movie) and viruses and bacteria even.

Likewise, the more physics-related apocalypses and havocs have grown: where once we were spooked by Verne’s then-plausible fiction of a comet scraping a portion of Earth away into weird wanderings, so we endured black holes, and more directs impacts, to grow into fictions of CERN fucking with the structure of space-time itself (Flashforward).

In all genres of apocalypse there has been growth corresponding to the evolution of the science that apocalypse is based on — save one.

The religious apocalypse novel is in a rut. Left Behinds and Christ Clones and the like are stuck in a theology and a Bibliology that is woefully outdated. Their religion is on the level of a serious science havocist spouting of aether and elan vital!

This is not merely a problem of reading the Book of Revelation and taking it literally. No, the problem runs much deeper. Religious apocalypses, even those that are somewhat anti-theistic, are stuck in slavishly assuming as their twist the stodgy orthodoxies of mainstream Christian theology, instead of higher criticism and biblical scholarship.

It has been known for decades, for so long its novelty value is on par with that of motorcars, that Jesus of New Testament fame was most likely a Jewish preacher of an imminent apocalypse, a man that did not consider himself a son of God except as a job title.

It is well known the four Gospels are works with very different Christologies, and will not and should not fit together as pictures of Jesus’s life, as not one of them is a picture that is true to life.

It is well-known that the Apocalypse that ends that Testament is, in addition to its distance from Jesus, also far removed from its more recent interpretations; but as far as I know, only the appendix of a single book recognizes this mismatch and speculates.

Similarly, we now know the Old Testament is largely fiction: there was no Garden of Eden, no Exodus; none of the memorable high points happened, or if they did they were of tremendously inferior magnitude and import.

The Jewish religion itself, of which the Old Testament is a late example, was for a long, long time much like any other Baalism of the area. It was much less remarkable, even, initially, being the religion of some desert-edge herdsmen, whose fixed habitation and self-glorification began long after the days of their imagined royal glory had passed. Not only are Adam and Abraham and Moses fictions: so too David and Solomon. Later kings such as Omri and Josiah would not be as well known, for they were small men: but they would be real, not inventions or distorted memories of ragged warlords of a few hovels and some starving sheep. Such fragmentary tales and legends were the fodder of dynastic priests and kings desirous of unity, of a grand history; and thus the document known as the Old Testament came into being: by compilation, commingling and conservation, not by revelation.

Any serious modern fiction based on the Bible should understand how dated a document it is: to treat it as the infallible word of God would be as wrongheaded as a biological thriller assuming the utter final inerrancy of Lamarck or Darwin, or a physics doomsday story of Newton that wilfully denied Einstein!

That this would require a radical departure, a revolution in the apocalypse business, even, I do not gainsay: it would no doubt be a devastation likely to end careers and to infuriate readers, but it is a devastation I would heartily welcome and embrace.

So — away with the motif of Lucifer, whether found, visited or loosened upon this earth! Look instead at ha-Satan, the Accuser, the much misappropriated and abused angel that stood next to God and didn’t have confidence in Job; and do not mistake him for the unrelated serpent of the tale usually told first, or the falling godling of many a myth. They are where the story began; they are where the twist of a surprising truth or survival must be found. Could the origins of the devil have been wrong in the originals, wrong until the Middle Ages, until the truth of a horned, red-caped devil peeked out, only to recede back into the shadows when faced by modern scrutiny? That is ludicrous!

Away with cutesy, overworked anodyne angels: look into history and behold the rowdy and physical Sons of God! Away with God, ever-loving and distant, an omnibenevolent all-father — that God is a later invention. The God of these religions’ origin was a tribal force, a Baal, ever embodied, a thunder-god of manlike shape and mind; to assume a different God is again to assume the truth of the matter was not known when it occurred, and is not known now: it is to say that only in the dim and ignorant period between, the nature of God’s origins was known. That is a laughable assumption to build one’s plot on.

So — away with the claptrap and hooey of the Middle Ages, the luminiferous aethers of religion, that in no way convey the true origins of these religions as they happened, or as we are now coming to understand their happening. If a novel seeks to portray a religious apocalypse in a real world, it needs to come to terms with the real history of religion: and that history is devoid of miracles and shows a Jewish Jesus, and a Baalist Yahweh! Let that be the place where the twist, the seed of god, the original deity, the plausible fiction, is found!

Let Yahweh-Baal come roaring from the heights of Sinai, crowned in thunder and wrath, to assist his Chosen People in wars and genocides such as were told in honor of him in the days of old! Let other old gods come reborn in fires, come against him, as the feuds of the Philistines and the Edomites, the Jebusites and the Amalekites, are rekindled!

Or let the apocalypse come as Jesus, just a prophet, prophesied it: an overturning of eastern Mediterranean’s order by a physical deity of martial and non-cuddly aspect! Let him descend in clouds of fire, enthroned and terrible, let life screech to a halt, and let his Messiah come as he was foreseen, the king and warlord unsurpassed, undefeated, and uninterested in missionary work!

Any story which does not deal with the scientifically, critically discovered approximate truth of the Judeo-Christian traditions’ origins is a story that by wilfully disregarding the best consensus of scholars and scientists robs itself of all value of novelty, plausibility and techno-thrillerism.

Down with such outdated formulaic cowardice!

Upwards in a bold rhythmic motion with new religious apocalypsic literature!

Huzzah!

Save the planet

March 18, 2011

Have a guess at what this is; as a hint, it’s not the nervous breakdown of an environmental studies major.

you got people like this around you countries for now in the water all day long every minute today about everything we’re at the air word about the water word about the soil where dot insecticides pesticides code additives carcinogens worried about radon gas word about this past this whereabouts saving endangered species let me tell you about endangered species act saving endangered species is just one more arrogant attempts by humans to control nature it’s arrogant meddling it’s what i was in trouble in the first place does anybody understand that interfering with nature over ninety percent overweight over ninety percent of all species that abhor lived on this planet ever lived their stage we didn’t kill them all paint job disappeared that’s what nature does they disappear these days at the rate of twenty five point gain nineteen regardless of our party figure irrespective of how we act on this planet twenty five species that were here today will be gone tomorrow let them go gracefully leave nature of my own haven’t we done enough was so self-important some self employed and was going to say jsut now say she’s seems to be newspaper where st louis mail and the greatest arrogance of all save the planet this fucking people treating me may not take care of ourselves yet capital one another we’re going to stand up for implanted crockett day contact these self-righteous implant mentalist

Once you’ve guessed enough, go here, go to CC, and choose Transcribe Audio.

God’s answer to #prayforjapan

March 15, 2011

Uncomprehending terror settled on the watching people of Earth. The terror moved slowly through the gathered crowds as if they were iron fillings on a sheet of board and a magnet was moving beneath them. Panic sprouted again, desperate fleeing panic, but there was nowhere to flee to.

Observing this, God turned on His PA again. It said:

“There’s no point in acting all surprised about it. All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display in the Book for two thousand of your Earth years, so you’ve had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint and it’s far too late to start making a fuss about it now.”

The PA fell silent again and its echo drifted off across the land. The huge waves receded, leaving little behind, and the earth shuddered.

By this time somebody somewhere must have manned a radio transmitter, located a wavelength and broadcasted a message back to God’s own domain, to plead on behalf of the planet. Nobody ever heard what they said, they only heard the reply.

The PA slammed back into life again. The voice was annoyed. It said:

“What do you mean you’ve never read the Book? For Heaven’s sake mankind, can I make myself any more clear? I’m sorry, but if you can’t be bothered to take an interest in local affairs that’s your own lookout.

“Energize the demolition beams.”

The waves rose again.

“I don’t know,” said the voice on the PA, “apathetic bloody planet, I’ve no sympathy at all.”

It cut off.

There was a terrible ghastly silence.

(With apologies to D.A.;
and this is a nice God
compared to some others.)

I had a shoggoth (fiction)

March 14, 2011

On Monday, I summoned a shoggoth.

It would have been more traditionally black-cowled sinister to do it on Sunday, but I had underestimated the amount of preparation necessary. (God, the smells!) Also, Monday’s the most cursed day, is it not?

On Tuesday, I finally got my wits and my nerve together, and took a look at the beast.

On Wednesday, I took a stiff drink, and resolved to not look at a shoggoth again. You know the paradox of the Uncanny Valley? How when you make something more human-looking, the remaining dissimilarities jump at you more and more? That’s the reason why cartoons are nice but human-looking haired, skinned robots oh God no. Here’s a note: Shoggoths know what people look like. A lot of people.

I took several more drinks after that.

On Thursday, with a hangover and a dread for my sanity driving spikes into the back of my skull, I did the Sign of Koth and the Circle of Pnath and the Mark of Hophilo, and cursed the size of my flat.

Metaphorically, that is. I am not a fool enough to start using eldritch powers against the basic geometry of the space where I reside. Nothing good would come of that.

I cursed the size of my flat, metaphorically, because it had left only one place where I could daub and enlineate the three-dimensional wards, lines, sigils, runes and whorls for the ritual of Veermis. Wouldn’t the landlord be surprised if he saw the pictures on the walls, I chuckled to myself, as I reached for the bathroom door.

And found it ajar.

That it had turned into a jar, I could have handled. That would have been just insanity.

But no, the door was ajar; unlocked; half-opened.

And through the dim gates of smashed memory I recalled a knocking, a knocking on my apartment door, as I lay sprawled dead dirty drunken on my bed; a knocking that then went away, or came inside; and recalling that flyer about bathroom renovations and inspections, I fell to my knees screaming.

On Friday, I had worked up the courage to peek inside. The shoggoth was there, of course; but there was a new vitality in it, and a new face in the hurly-burly of it, in the vortex that rose above the seat of comfort, which I now resolved I would never sit on, not with all the detergents in the world.

On Saturday, I got a long, strong stick and tried to push the lever.

It would not flush.

On Sunday, the police finally came. I had a dim memory of gibbering through the mail slot sometime during the night. The mode of speech was because of the flushing episode. As if it had wanted to show me all it could. And a part of me was tempted. That I spoke, through the slot, was because someone was asking for the landlord.

I remember screaming something about him “being eaten in the loo!” and something about “a face for too many eyes the porcelain pit the porcelain pit the unreconstituted bone lathe!”

Reckoning that pseudo-homicidal raving, a wonder the police took so long.

Then again, maybe they thought I was drunk? And who knows, maybe the shoggoth vocalized as the landlord once did.

That could have been me hearing voices, too; sources vary on whether shoggoths are really good in directed bellowing, or if that’s just the sound of the hinges of your sanity being screamingly unhinged as the doors of perception are opened into the whispering horizontal abysses of the plains of L—

Anyway, on Sunday the police finally came. I opened them the bathroom door, and now the shoggoth has three faces.

I went to get a drink of water, and then spent an hour breathing heavily in a corner because there was no water from the tap and dear God had Ibn Schacabao told lead made proof against the Bindings oh dear God oh dear God.

After an hour, I convinced myself water pipes were not made of lead, no, not anymore.

Got a bottled drink to celebrate this technological advance in accidental protection against unspeakable horrors.

Then got a pen, and wrote this all down. Not sure why, but apocalypse logs like this are traditional. (“Apocalypse log you say? Why? Look in the toilet look in the toilet for the apocalypse log I dropped there—“)

I am fairly sure I had a reason for summoning the shoggoth.

I am fairly sure.

Because it goes this way: you have perfectly reasonable goals that will through some sensible pathways come to be and happen through you opening a gate for that amorphous thing, and it comes through not by its own volition, but because you will it to come.

You will it, you open the gate, wait for the wards to decay, and do your will; it is your will that drives it all. You have free will and the other side does not.

And by your will I mean my will.

Because I had a reason for summoning the shoggoth.

Because I had a reason, and I’m fairly sure I can remember it before the wards decay.

* * *

Ah, imagination. Someone mentioned shoggoths (or “servitors”) on a comment thread over on Charles Stross’s blog and bam this piece crawled out.

The title is from a Tom Smith song.