The ramblings of an Eternal Student of Life     
. . . still studying and learning how to live
 
 
Sunday, May 29, 2005
Personal Reflections ... Society ...

Sometimes I think that the world around me has pretty much given up on the idea of civilization. Maybe we go thru the motions so as to avoid getting sued, but in our hearts, we’re all just animals right now; hunting and hurting (and sometimes even killing) as needed to meet our immediate needs. That’s sure what it seems like on my worse days. (And I’m not sure if I’m any better).

My place of employment deals with criminals, people who steal and rape and kill as needed to meet their immediate needs. Unfortunately, when you deal a lot with criminals, you pick up something of their nature. I can see that happening in the investigators and the assistant prosecutors, the “front line” people. I can understand when a police investigator goes into the tough guy routine, but it upsets me when I see the lawyers picking up those nasty habits. Lawyers, in theory, are supposed to devote their lives to the ideals of law, which are key components of civilization. You’d think they would go out of their way to be civilized – you know, the bow-tie kind of lawyer, the old-fashioned guy or lady who believed in the ultimate redemptive quality of practicing law and practicing it well. But no, many of our assistant prosecutors go around swearing and cursing and taking on threatening postures, just like their police investigator friends. It’s especially nauseating to me when the women do it – partly because of my old fashioned notion of women being the kinder and gentler side of the human race, but also because when women put on the tough-guy facade, they tend to overdo it (at least in my office).

I had to help a couple of assistant prosecutors with a press release after a big drug bust the other day. One of them was Terri, who is a head honcho over the “tough crime” units (homicide, narcotics, etc.). Terri is actually a rather nice and decent woman at heart. But when she starts dealing with a case, she starts using the F-word over and over. While talking with some cops as we were trying to get the facts straight for the press release, I heard her talking about a “cluster f—“. I didn’t even want to know what that was about.

Well, it took a bit of back and forth until we got the facts straight about how much cocaine and heroin were seized. Everyone seemed to have a different number, and the numbers didn’t always refer to the same measurements; sometimes we were told that there were so many grams of something, sometimes it was in “decks”, sometimes in “bricks”. And then there was confusion about what was taken in the immediate seizure, and how much came during the “rip” (removed from the person of those who were taken into custody).

Right at the point when the confusion was reaching its peak, Terri stopped her cursing and said, to everyone and no one in particular, “oh yea, figuring out how many decks are in a brick, this is why I went to law school nights”. Actually, that comment made me feel better. I found her frustration to be a hopeful thing. Deep down inside, Terri still held within her the ideal of civilization. THAT is why she went to law school nights. She still had some soul left.

We got the press release out OK. And I went home thinking about the refrain verse from Train’s Calling All Angels: “I won’t give up if you don’t give up”.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 12:21 pm       No Comments Yet / Leave a Comment
 
 
Friday, May 27, 2005
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I just read a short article about Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. Today we pretty much yawn at General Relativity, but when you look back at it, it was an incredible intellectual achievement. Einstein took nine years to come up with it. What was so difficult about it was that Einstein had to teach himself to imagine the world in totally different way from what our everyday experiences teach us. And no one was there to help him with this. Newton’s theories of space and time and force and matter pretty much rested on intuitive notions from real life. E.g., you need to use force to get an object moving, or to make it stop once in motion. Since things here on our planet naturally move towards the earth (you can find that out by jumping out of a window – or dropping a chewing gum wrapper), there must be a force coming from the earth that acts on everything near the earth. That’s the way to understand gravity; all that Newton did was to set up some numbers and formulas to allow you to calculate exactly what the effect of gravity and other forces would be.

(NONETHELESS – keep in mind that what Newton did was still an enormous achievement. No one before Newton had thought to set up formulas. Newton’s formulas allowed predictions to be made; for example, if you jump out of a window that is 10 feet high, you might want to know how long will it take for you to hit the ground, and how much force will act on your body when you do hit the ground. Obviously, Newton’s successors found better uses for these formulas, such as figuring out how to make steam engines run and flying machines fly and such.)

If scientists back in Einstein’s time had accurate measuring devises as we do today, they would have known that Newton’s formulas actually didn’t allow exact predictions of force and gravity effects. But Einstein didn’t know that at the time. He was pretty much cruising on his own intellectual gasoline when he came up with General Relativity. Somehow, he decided to imagine the world as a place where straight lines really weren’t always straight, where all of space — and, even worse, time – could get warped like a sheet of rubber. What did the warping was mass and energy. I mean, that was the result of a whole new kingdom existing only in Einstein’s mind. He was eventually able to set up a whole lot of complex mathematics (based on non-Euclidean geometry) to describe this new kingdom in his mind. And guess what? The new Einstein math turned out to describe reality better and more accurately than Newton’s math did.

That’s the challenge of being a cutting-edge physicist today. You have to be trained to see the world in a totally different way, one that leaves behind what you experience in daily life. There is a totally different world existing in your mind, that is shared by maybe a couple of hundred or thousand other people on the planet. You then figure out a mathematical way to describe this complex world of extra dimensions that warp and twist and do all kinds of non-intuitive things. Yea, that’s what all the string theory people are doing right now: investing gobs of mental energy into imagining a new kind of reality, and then describing it through some extremely complex mathematical abstractions; and then hoping that it all turns out to be proveable someday.

When you think about it, Einstein could just as well have been wrong. He might have invented a world in his mind that did not, in the end, reflect what really goes on in our Universe. (I do that all the time! although admittedly, not in the formal, mathematically precise way the Einstein and the string theory people do. And even if you can use matrix math to outline a peculiar kind of Alice-in-Wonderland geometry, it doesn’t mean that it truly relates to anything). But Albert got it right — even though he later got a lot of stuff wrong (e.g., quantum theory). So, hats off tonight to a true intellectual pioneer.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 10:11 pm       No Comments Yet / Leave a Comment
 
 
Sunday, May 22, 2005
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On being right when you’re wrong, and how to discuss it: Sometimes at work, I do some reading during lunch hour. Once in a while I bring in a book that discusses “the historical Jesus”. Occasionally, someone asks me what I’m reading. And every now and then, the person doing the asking is someone that I know to be a fervent believer in Christ as Redeemer and Savior. Thus far, I’ve just mumbled something to these folk so that they can walk away with a “that’s nice” feeling.

But I’m tempted to one day say to them that I’m reading some pretty solid analytical research about Jesus that blows to bits the theological conceptions that they hold in regard to him. Sometimes I want to tell them that the best, most unbiased researchers who have meticulously reviewed all the relevant historical evidence conclude that Jesus was a normal human being and not a God-man born of a virgin, that he died at the hands of the Romans and did not come back in the flesh, that he was a Jew, that he was a very charismatic man who gathered a following, that he was focused on one particular problem, i.e. the Roman Empire controlling the Holy Land, that he believed wholeheartedly in the apocalyptic myth about God coming very soon in judgment (which was very popular at the time), that he believed based upon his probable reading of the book of Daniel that he himself was to be the Son of Man who would carry out the apocalypse on God’s behalf and institute the Kingdom of God, right then and there along the eastern Mediterranean, just as soon as he sacrificed himself in Jerusalem . . . . . and that he turned out to be totally wrong. And finally, after reading the works of those researchers, I’m totally convinced that this point of view is the best, most logical explanation possible, the one we should all live by.

I’m sure that would get an interesting reaction from my Christian officemates!

But I’m not really interested in getting a rise out of people just because I’ve carefully studied the evidence and analysis as presented by some of the best academic minds. I ultimately agree with the underlying metaphysical belief which my Christian officemates possess, that there is more to the world than what the scientists can objectively document; that there is a mysterious force behind all reality that is ultimately good, despite all of the bad that we must experience. I fear, though, that if I presented my interpretation of Jesus to them, they would think that I’m attacking that ultimate faith. What I would really like to do is to have a discussion that would acknowledge that Jesus was subject to the same worldly physics as she / he and I are, but agree that there is a greater metaphysic as Jesus envisioned (however inaccurately).

OK, so under my viewpoint, we don’t have Jesus’ virgin birth and his miracles and his resurrection as evidence that such a greater metaphysic does permeate our lives and our Universe. But isn’t there other evidence for us to discuss, albeit more subtle evidence? And doesn’t Jesus’ story, despite its non-miraculous beginnings and endings, still provide us something to work with? Even though Jesus focused exclusively on a local Jewish problem and not on the salvation of non-Jews living 2000 years later, and even though his faith that God would deliver a miracle to him and his people totally backfired, didn’t something good still result from all that faith?

Jesus still changed the world, although in ways that he couldn’t imagine. He gave the Roman Empire and the many empires to follow a kinder and gentler way of living. Oh sure, you can tell me about all sorts of hypocrisy and inhumanity over 20 centuries of Christian history. But at the core of it all, Christianity still presents Jesus and his kinder, gentler way of being. Jesus tells us not to raise swords. Most people ignore that, but once in a while someone still takes it seriously. Jesus tells us to love one another, even our enemies. Those words still act on people’s consciences. There are other great religions on our planet that have great founders who said a lot of great things. And we should all get to know the great things that those great founders said (e.g, the Buddha, Zoroaster, Moses, and Muhammad). But I can’t think of any other founder of a great religion who said “love one another, even your enemy; turn the other cheek; put away your swords”. The bad stuff of Christianity is pretty much like the bad stuff from any organized point of view. The good stuff, though, is pretty special. If just 1 in 10 people took Jesus’s Golden Rule instructions seriously at one part of their life, things are still the better for it.

Yes, I know that Jesus has been presented as a harsh, judgemental monster in many places and that this has hurt many people, especially in their youth. There certainly is stuff in the Gospels that can be selectively presented in that fashion. If we could understand just where Jesus was really coming from, i.e. a self-appointed prophet in expectation of an imminent “end of the world as we know it”, we could then defuse this nightmare side of Jesus. The light of modern rationality can still be the end of a superstitious nightmare.

For now, though, I’m not quite ready to take on my Christian officemates. For now, I need to get along with them, and not to rock the boat. But who knows. Maybe one day I’ll be able to take some chances for enlightenment and interaction – theirs and mine. Back in the 60’s, we “flower children” (well, I was actually more of a sympathizer than a real hippie) thought that all contention could be talked out, and thus there was no need for war. Unfortunately, human beings didn’t turn out to be quite as easy to work with as we then imagined. But ya can’t completely lose faith. Maybe I’ll yet have that discussion about history and Jesus and the metaphysical world. If we can do it all during lunch hour.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 4:37 pm       No Comments Yet / Leave a Comment
 
 
Saturday, May 21, 2005
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I work in the office that prosecuted a fairly famous rape case back in the mid-90s, one involving a group of suburban high school football jocks who sexually assaulted a mildly retarded girl (the kind we used to call “slow”). The girl was flattered by their attention. Unfortunately, she was too innocent to realize the power of teenage lust and the concurrent disrespect that she garnered from the “cool guys”. She thus fell victim to the dark side of a seemingly civilized, upper-income environment.

In 1999, ABC made a TV movie about the case based on the book “Our Guys”. Bob, the assistant prosecutor (i.e. trial attorney for the State) who handled the case was played by an actor; however, Bob actually got a bit part in the movie, not as himself, but as a detective. In one scene, he was actually introduced to himself when encountering his character — hmm, deja vu all over again! The other day I overheard Bob chatting with some fellow assistant prosecutors about his movie. He was quite proud of it, and pointed out that it was still being shown on cable channels and was occasionally in theaters in Canada.

I work regularly with Bob (who is now a “CAP”, chief assistant prosecutor), and to be honest, he’s a really good guy. He obviously isn’t interested in the kind of paperwork that I process (but he is one of the most helpful bigwigs in that regard — he always has a moment for even the most minute of the minutia). Bob found his niche; he wants to do what he does, i.e. function as a high-profile prosecutor and trial attorney. He found a road to follow his bliss, and he took it.

I can’t blame him for that. I want to follow my bliss too. But for now, I’m stuck with that paperwork, which ain’t all that blissful. Nevertheless, after hearing Bob discuss his movie, I followed a bit of my own bliss as a researcher by finding some internet reviews on his movie. Here’s what I saw: the E!Online site acknowledges his film and gives it a C+ rating based on viewer’s opinions. And the MSN Entertainment site had a review which called it formulistic and ultimately boring, just another made-for-TV movie.

Oh well. Bliss doesn’t come easy for any of us, I guess.

NONETHELESS … I must point out that Bob has put a lot of sexual preditors behind bars, and the streets are better for it. Recently he got a guy sent up for at least 60 years in a bizarre robbery, kidnapping and sexual assault case where the victim was a young man who was simply walking down the street. Two women accompanied the defendant, but were only interested in robbery; after the take, they left the victim to the sadistic insticts of his attacker. So yes guys, rape ain’t just for women any more. In an out-of-kilter world like this, first-rate CAP’s like Bob do good for all of us, even if TV and the movies don’t always do them justice.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 10:30 pm       No Comments Yet / Leave a Comment
 
 
Monday, May 16, 2005
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It’s amazing how much Orwellian double-speak there is out there these days. Over the past few days, while perusing the local newspaper site, I’ve noticed a site ad for Horizon Blue Cross entitled “The Bag Is Back”. It’s hard to tell what the graphics were implying, but after looking at it 10 times, I finally figured out the story: an old doctor’s bag (used back in the days when doctors still made home visits) is found during an archeological dig. Well, maybe that means that Horizon Blue, a typically nasty health insurance company, has had a religious experience and is now encouraging a kinder and gentler kind of medicine.

Sorry, not quite. Horizon Blue Cross is not suddenly encouraging doctors to bill it for their time in making home visits. No, the big blue X is just using the bag as a symbol. “The medical bag makes a universal emotional connection to a time when health care was easier”. Oh, so this is about emotions. When big corporations start talking about emotions, hold on tight; get ready for some big twists.

The Bag ad encourages you to check out a special web site, “www.thebagisback.com”, which then gives you some clues about where “the bag” is leading. After another link or two, you arrive at a plug for Horizon Blue’s new Health Savings Account plan. Ah yes, Horizon is encouraging employers to save a few nickels by sticking their employees with this lame excuse for health coverage. If you’re not familiar with it, a Health Savings Account is an insurance policy with a very high yearly deductible, combined with a “savings account” that makes up for a lot of the deductable (but still socks you with $200 or $500 yearly out-of-pocket). If you don’t use all of that savings account within the year, you can hold on to it for future medical expenses, or you can cash it out (subject to some tax penalties). The theory behind this is that when people get sick, they will act as “shrewd consumers”, nagging their MDs about every stupid test that he or she orders. Hey, doc, do you really need to do that blood test? It’s costing me money, you know. Thus, the sick person is expected to act as the agent of the insurance company in controlling health costs (which continue to skyrocket for a variety of reasons).

This is definitely Orwellian. I mean, when you’re really sick, do you want to haggle with your doctor? And when you’re not exactly sure if you’re sick, as is often the case, what then? An HSA arrangement will encourage many families NOT to seek medical care at an early stage. Sure, it may be great for people who have a lot of education and make enough money; they don’t have much to lose and can take the longer-term view. But for the struggling working class and the working poor, every day is a skirmish on the cash flow battlefield. When the credit card companies are on you night and day, you’re gonna be tempted to overlook that strange bleeding that you developed the other week, so as to cash out whatever you can from the HSA. Yea, the Health Savings Account is a wonderful idea for the professional types who thought it up. But it could well be deadly for the $8 or $10-an-hour people who it’s gonna be forced upon.

And then Horizon Blue Cross has the chutzpah to claim that it’s like a doctor’s bag, a symbol of caring and healing in the home. Orwell said in 1946 (back when doctors still used bags to make house calls) that all political language is designed “to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” Looks as though the big corporations have learned their lessons quite well from their political friends. So well, they can use them on us even when the topic is our own health.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 9:24 pm       No Comments Yet / Leave a Comment
 
 
Saturday, May 14, 2005
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I don’t read or watch much science fiction, because it can be so cheesy. But there is actually some serious science fiction out there, and serious science fiction can be very serious. Science fiction is about the only mode of literature (other than philosophy) that can ponder the biggest questions about humanity and its future.

The biggest question, in my opinion, is this: does our race have much of a future? Will we learn to get past our ape-like urge to gather into battling tribes, and instead adapt a one-world point of view? Can we learn to cooperate more and compete less? Can we avoid throwing our planet’s ecology totally out of whack and shutting down its capacity to sustain us? Can we stop recklessly gulping down all of our available energy resources, handing future generations an IOU promising that “we’ll come up with something” to replace it? (Politicians and corporations talk about the promise of hydrogen as a replacement for oil, but I’m old enough to remember when nuclear power was the energy miracle of the future). Can we do something about the horrible distribution of wealth in this world, where the richest 1/10 of 1 percent live on 10,000 times the annual income level of the bottom 1/3 of the world’s population? Can we see the ridiculous contradiction of a business economy that ties all the people of the world closer and closer together so as to better exploit them, and then thinks that it can just walk away with the profits and not get stabbed in the back (e.g., through terrorism?).

Some of the more optimistic science fiction writers seem to think that we will learn the lessons in time, such that the human race will be around for eons to come. Wars and strife will eventually go out of fashion, and humanity will get down to collectively solving the problems that would otherwise make us go the way of the dodo bird. In a few centuries, as our planet runs out of usable resources, we will be able to find new homes for ourselves out amidst the stars (“ad astra”, as the NASA motto goes). Human kind might then become a unending seed of consciousness and intelligence that will broadcast itself throughout the Milky Way and eventually beyond, to the “billions and billions” of galaxies out there (remember Carl Sagan?).

Wouldn’t that be something. Ideas like that one are good for battling depression. It’s nice to think that we’re here for something after all, that we’re all part of some grander plan for our species that puts our messy, seemingly irrelevant lives into context. Problem is, no one can say if it has a real shot of coming true. There are so many things that could overcome humankind; some unforeseen super-plague, an ecological collapse, a war that gets out of hand and spreads too quickly, a comet or asteroid crash that darkens the planet. Oh, and here’s another interesting doomsday possibility: a gamma star burst somewhere in our corner of the Milky Way. (As though tsunamis weren’t enough).

Astronomers and biologists have recently done research on why some stars suddenly throw out stupendous amounts of energy, mostly long-distance gamma rays. Our own sun couldn’t do it; it’s about 15 times too small for that kind of event. But there are still plenty of big stars out there within range of our solar system that potentially could go blitzo one day. And when they do, they wipe out just about all life forms on any hospitable planet within five thousand light years or so, by stripping away the protective upper atmosphere. Unlike most of the other scenarios, there ain’t a darn thing we could do if it did ever happen (thus, it won’t make a good summer movie). Some biologists think that such a starburst may have caused a big extinction (Ordovician) that happened 450 million years ago (way before the dinosaur extinction, which seems to relate to an asteroid impact near Mexico).

As with the comet and asteroid scenarios, the chances of a near-by gamma burst happening anytime soon is incredibly small. Nothing to stay up at night worrying about. But the chance is always out there lurking, causing grounds for existential doubt.

So . . . . Are we the ambassadors of the Universe’s destiny? Or are we just smears on a cosmic petri dish, ready to be trashed at any time? Ponder that one after you’ve been entertained by Revenge of the Sith.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 8:37 pm       No Comments Yet / Leave a Comment
 
 
Sunday, May 8, 2005
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SMALL TIME GENIUS: It’s the height of the Spring season here in the northeast, and the annual cherry blossom festivals have been held in the various urban parks where the town fathers had the foresight to plant a bunch of Japanese cherry trees. Of course, Washington DC is the big show for cherry blossoms, but up here in New Jersey we have a pretty good display in North Newark, of all places. There are probably other cities too with cherry tree zones.

However, my favorite Springtime blossom site is on the campus of Rutgers University in Newark. It’s nothing much, just one small corner between two modern concrete buildings. But when they were putting the Newark campus together back in the 1960s, someone had the foresight to plant a row of a certain kind of tree, one that develops tiny little purple blossoms all along its branches. They put the line of purple trees in just the right place, set off by a lawn and some regular green trees and a handful of evergreens. In late April and early May, the bare branches of these trees appears to be outlined in purple. Then the regular leaves kick in and they turn to plain old trees for another summer.

Cherry blossoms are all white and puffy and obvious. These trees, whatever they are, have a more subtle appeal. But if you stop to ponder them, you can appreciate their weirdness. I managed to get a decent shot of them today (after the Mother’s Day rituals were completed). Hope you too can appreciate the small-time genius of the nameless planner who thought to put these unique tress in this obscure little campus courtyard. Whoever she (or he) was, my hat goes off to her (or him). It’s said that “you never know the good you do”; but the purple tree display shows that “those who see the good that you do never know you”. Well, same difference I guess.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 7:56 pm       No Comments Yet / Leave a Comment
 
 
Friday, May 6, 2005
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AN INTERESTING LAMENT: Sometime during early childhood, all of us come to realize that the world doesn’t exist to keep us warm, dry and comfortable. If you had a good mother, it may have seemed that way for the first year or two. (This would be a good time to wish all of you maternal types out there a Happy Mothers Day). But as with most sales transactions, that was just a special introductory offer. Things soon get down to the basic give-and-take.

Another thing that you soon realize as a child is that not everyone in the world is interested in what you’re interested in. You can usually find someone who shares one of your interests, and once in a blue moon you find someone who can talk about 2 or 3 things that are near and dear to your heart. But it’s just about impossible to find anyone who completely shares your interests. Thus, you usually wind up marrying someone who, for a little while, claims to be absolutely fascinated with you; but in reality, she or he finds many of your interests to be trite and meaningless. Ah yes, that limited-time introductory offer, once again.

Not much to be done about it. It’s just a shame that in this lifetime, there’s little to no chance that someone will come along, get to know you, and say, yes, I understand why glass marbles and civil war history and butterflies and Victorian novels and touring Australia and starting a software business turns you on. I see how it all comes together. I know how you feel. Yea, it’s a shame that none of us are every completely appreciated here on earth. Maybe that’s what makes us all so unruly and uncivil sometimes. We all need something from each other that no one is able to give.

Oh well, maybe in another life.

BUT ON THE BRIGHER SIDE OF THINGS: The “wiki” movement on the internet is one of the brighter things happening out there today. Just when it seems as though every site on the internet wants you to pay $15 per month to use it, the wiki people come along and set up good, free stuff on a volunteer basis. Do you remember when the Encyclopedia Britannica web site was free? That sure turned out to be a “special introductory offer”. But we still have the Wikipedia, which gets better and better every day and is still completely free. It’s at www.wikipedia.org. Whatever you are interested in, there’s probably something about it on the wiki. And if not — then write it yourself!

◊   posted by Jim G @ 10:21 pm       No Comments Yet / Leave a Comment
 
 
Sunday, May 1, 2005
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And Now, Irshad Manji: I’ve noticed the sparks of a not-yet-formed women’s movement with the Islamic faith. Many thinking Muslim women realize that the whole trajectory of Islam will have to be changed in order for them – and for their brothers in faith – to lead better lives and to realize their truest spiritual aspirations. Back on March 18, 2005, I noted a woman who leads prayer services amidst an Islamic community in New York City. And on Nov. 16, 2003, I mentioned Shabana Rehman, the Pakastani / Norwegian performer who uses comedy as a means to confront regressive Islamic attitudes – as well as hypocritical western attitudes. Now we have Irshad Manji, the Islamic writer and TV show producer from western Canada. In case you haven’t heard of Ms. Manji yet, her web site is: www.muslim-refusenik.com.

Irshad Manji is saying a lot of good and interesting things, and is definitely taking a lot of risks in saying them. She is also enjoying her celebrity amidst the western press, and I wonder if it isn’t going to her head a little, as happens for just about everyone who “catches fire” with the media. For example, the pajama incident on HBO. Still, I wish her “Ijtihad” movement well . . . . ijtihad being “Islam’s lost tradition of critical thinking”.

Ms. Manji posts a lot of her mail on the web site, and as you would expect, much of it is critical of her pro-modernist, pro-feminist interpretations of the Quaran and her blunt comments about politics and attitudes within the Islamic world. She comments on most letters with a biting wit, turning it loose against her foes and against liberal western supporters as well. But sometimes she just posts a message and lets it be. Here’s a quote from one of those letters, one that I find worth pondering:

“God is something that we are not ready for yet. There’s too much power in it and we don’t know how to absorb it. So let’s forget about God as we know him, and let’s live to help others. Let’s live a life in which our biggest worry is how to make this world a better place for everyone, black and white, Indians, Orientals, Occidentals, everybody and everywhere.” – Bruno

Good one, Bruno. And thanks for posting it, Ms. M.

IRONIC FOOTNOTE #1: The Buddhist definition of the word “manji” is a swastika; to the Buddhists, a swastika represents Dharma, universal harmony, and the balance of opposites. To other people . . . .

IRONIC FOOTNOTE #2: It shouldn’t make any difference, and if I had more integrity I wouldn’t mention it, but Ms. Manji plays up the fact that she’s a lesbian. I guess it adds to her “in your face, you old mullah” personality, which the media seems to love so much. So, I consider her sexuality to be fair game for a little counter-jab at Ms. M. As it turns out, Barry Manilow is also gay (according to a recent biography, although he doesn’t talk about it). To connect the dots, you could take one of Mr. Manilow’s hit tunes and twist one word, and it would go: “Oh Manji, you came and you gave without taking, but I sent you away . . . . “

BUT THE MOST IRONIC THING: Barry Manilow was brought up as a Jew, although he avows having an affinity for Christmas music. Ah, Barry, why not do a joint concert with the former Cat Stevens, have Ms. Manji MC the show, and let it all blur together. As the Buddhists would have it.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 9:43 am       No Comments Yet / Leave a Comment
 
 
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