September 2008

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Well how about that? It seems the fundamentalist middle American churches have heard about me. ;-)

I’m sure that many of you who read my modelling web site‘s FAQ would’ve loved to have posted your comments on it. Well now you can, because I’ve re-posted it here! (You can see the link to it in the navigation bar at the top of every page.) I’ve only re-posted the actual FAQ though—I’ve left out the extensive sociopolitical commentary, because that’s what this blog is for! I will cover everything I discussed in my old FAQ in more detailed articles here—that way everything will be more focused.

Also, what did everyone think of the first Presidential debate? I was very disappointed that McCain accused Obama of being “naive” for wanting to engage in diplomacy wherever possible (including with Iran), and was even more disappointed to learn that the majority of Americans seem to agree with him! Surely if there’s anything we’ve learned from the screw-ups of the Bush administration, it’s that it is very naive not to engage in diplomacy, instead of shooting first and asking questions later?

The Photoshop mock-up is courtesy of OldiesLover. :-)

In response to my last couple of posts—which implored Americans to vote for Barack Obama in the upcoming US Presidential election—those who disagree with me (both here and via email) often put forward arguments that basically amount to one thing: that I should have a better understanding of conservative “middle America” (of course, when they say “conservative” in this case, what they really mean is “Christian fundamentalist”). Indeed, they seem to think that everyone across the world should try to gain a better understanding of them. Well for one thing, understanding is a two way street: one of the biggest problems the outside world has with fundamentalist middle America is their apparent unwillingness to try and understand the rest of the world, and the effect of US foreign policy on it. Besides, they seem to be confusing understanding with agreement—just because we don’t agree with them, doesn’t mean we don’t understand them. Indeed, I suspect the majority of people understand fundamentalist middle America quite well, as they are—let’s face it—so simple.

They believe in the complete, literal word of the Bible, and that those who don’t are “evil”, or at least “misguided”. Hence they always vote Republican, because only Republicans are willing to accept the literal “truth” of the Bible. They also think America is the greatest country in the world, and that everybody else thinks (or at least should think) the same way. This leads them to think that the US has a God given right to impose its values on the rest of the world, and that anybody who disagrees with this must be “anti-American”. There is no room for anyone to criticise any aspect of US foreign policy, because the US can do no wrong, as it is on a mission from God. In short, they have a very simplistic, black and white, good versus evil, “you’re either with us or against us” kind of attitude to the world. Yet the real world simply does not work this way, and this not only creates problems for people outside of middle America, but ironically—indeed, especially—also for middle America itself. Read the rest of this entry »

Today, of course, marks the seventh anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US. Coming as it does in the midst of an American Presidential campaign, I thought it might be a good idea to reflect on whether Americans have learned the lessons of these attacks, specifically with regards to their vote in the upcoming US election.

So what did September 11 teach us? Fundamentally that—even when your military superiority is so enormous that you are the world’s only remaining super power—no one is impervious to terrorism. Indeed, terrorism has actually come about as a means of attacking and (literally) terrorising an opponent who is too powerful to attack militarily. This in turn obviously means that military force alone is totally insufficient for dealing with terrorism—and as we can’t just deal with it militarily, we clearly have to find another, more effective way to deal with it if we really want to put an end to it. Read the rest of this entry »

Well, well, well. John McCain may be the most progressive Republican Presidential candidate we’ve had for a very long time, but at the end of the day, he’s still a Republican. That means he has to tow the party line, which in turn means—very concerningly—that he has to pander to the religious right.

Hence his selection of Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential running mate. She must seem like a dream come true for McCain: a woman to try and grab the Hillary vote, and an ultra-conservative, fundamentalist Christian to please the religious right. If there’s any disaffected Hillary voters reading this though, please be aware that her sex is probably about the only thing she has in common with Clinton. Like all good conservative Christians, she is anti-choice—Palin will do nothing to advance the rights of women in the US (if anything, she may even set them back). And even more worryingly, she is also a staunch creationist, who advocates the teaching of creationism alongside (although I’m sure she really wants it to actually be instead of) evolution in science class. Read the rest of this entry »

Piano Practice

Although I’ve really enjoyed all the quite the heavy and serious discussion we’ve had here so far, I thought it might make for a nice change of pace to post a video of me practicing piano—in the nude! (As with all of our videos, it is in ISO MPEG4 format, so you’ll need QuickTime 6 or later to view it.)

Of course, as we have to keep this blog strictly non-nude, we can’t show you everything here. But if you’re a member of my main web site, you will be able to see an extended, full nude version of this clip from the Audio/Video page there. You can also see the original, full length video from which this clip came on my raw demo DVD, which also features me singing in the nude (in full DVD quality)! Oh yes: as all the links in this paragraph obviously feature nudity, they’re definitely not safe for work! ;-)