Three Articles to Check Out
I came across three interesting articles this last week. I thought I’d pass them along.
Somebody Went Postal on Him
Over at the WFMU blog is “The Ballad Of The Walking Postman”. It’s a tale from the Civil Rights Era. Here’s what WFMU says about it:
Today’s musical selection tells the story of Bill Moore, a white civil rights protester from Baltimore who was murdered in rural Alabama in April 1963 while on a one man Freedom Walk. He was killed on the way from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi where he planned to hand deliver to governor Ross Barnett a letter imploring him to accept racial equality and integration.
On his walk, Moore promoted his agenda by wearing sandwich board type signs reading “Equal Rights For All – Mississippi Or Bust” and “End Segregation In America – Eat At Joe’s Both Black & White.”
That alone would have been provocative enough to warrant concern for his safety. But Moore, a committed atheist, also pushed a cart displaying a “wanted” poster adorned with a sketch of Jesus that was captioned “Jesus Christ – Wanted for sedition, criminal anarchy, vagrancy, and conspiring to overthrow the established government.”
Moore had been warned of the danger of undertaking the march by himself while carrying such signs through small towns across the deep South, but he was undeterred. On the third day of his journey, his dead body was found along the side of the road about an hour northeast of Birmingham. He’d been shot twice in the head. An arrest was made, but the grand jury neglected to issue an indictment so no one was ever convicted.
If you go over to the WFMU website, you can download an MP3 of the mediocre memorial song, “The Ballad Of The Walking Postman”.
Christianity as Social Disease
Jeff Eyges alerted me to this article: “Christianity’s early days debated by scientists”. He wanted me to see how retarded some of the commenters are. That’s sort of a given on the internet. I actually found the article itself of more interest, at least a couple of parts of it.
There was a very interesting sentence in the article. Actually, it’s the first half of the sentence that is interesting:
Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, of course, after the death of Jesus around 33 AD, moving from a persecuted minority in the time of the Roman emperor Nero in 64 AD…
The remainder of that sentence is then completely botched in the original article. The rest of the sentence should be:
…to perceived persecuted minority today.
The article also discusses several possible models for how Christianity spread. The one I like is described this way:
The “social” model, where every exposure to an early Christian is seen as possibly leading to a pagan converting, much like the chances of catching a cold.
Don’t yell at me. I’m not the one comparing Christianity to a disease.
Fiction that is Stranger than Fiction
I came across a fascinating website: The Continent of Lost Anime that Time Forgot. It tells us about some of the strangest Japanese pop-culture you’ve never seen.
There is the bizarre journey inside the abnormal Japanese body, produced by the Japanese Rice Growers’ Council.
There is a simplistic rip-off of Space Battleship Yamato. Not long after the show’s premature cancellation, the producer killed himself in shame. Why couldn’t he have done that before creating this embarrassment?
Next we have a truly bizarre creation that exploits the unhealthy Japanese fixation on underage girls. This show is actually called (loosely translated): We Swear to God, She’s 19 Years Old: Fetishtastic
Finally, we have the religious hired-guns of Hikyou-Kisei Studios. Are you a religion? Do you have money? Do you want to have a cartoon made?
The first example of what they produced was… well, let’s let the website describe it:
[I]t features the adventures of two children, Cash and Penny, who travel around the world accompanied by the disembodied head of preacher Robert Tilton and learn about the importance of giving money (to Robert Tilton)…
If you don’t like that religion, there is always Satanism:
[T]wo children named Damien and Rosemary learn about Satanism by going backward and forward in time with their talking pet goat, Anton.
Wait a minute. A story about The Pet Goat? Stay away. That never ends well.
If that doesn’t work for you, whip out your E-meters! We’re going to explore Scientology!
[T]wo school children, Tom and Nicole, who traveled backward and forward in time accompanied by Elron, a clam who hoped one day to become “clear” and thus a true human being instead of a shellfish.
I alerted ParrotLover to The Continent of Lost Anime that Time Forgot. I was curious how he’d react, since he’s a connoisseur of better anime. I hope he doesn’t mind my reprinting his comments:
Holy crap! I know Japan is weird (by our standards) and that’s part of the reason I am absolutely in love with their culture. The first two in that list [rice & fetish] totally didn’t surprise me. Even the author seemed bothered by the fetish robot and the boy screaming, but to me it’s just a Japan anime company beating the crazy mental illness fetishes on the chans by about 10 years and portraying them through the eyes of a very girl-shy Japanese teenage boy (which is a pretty common character in anime). Crushing? Vore? In anime in the 90s? Thank you, Japan, for not disappointing.
But even knowing that, I was absolutely perplexed by the religious anime. What. The. Fuck?! I could say “awesome” but that would not in any way describe level at which my jaw was on the floor at pure stunning amazement at the weirdness that can and does come out of Japan on a regular basis. Japan found a new way to amaze me in its weirdness—I thought I had seen it all. And for that, I bow to them.
I hope it’s real and not made up. Because if it’s made up, I will be disappointed.
I’m pretty sure it’s real. Nobody could make this stuff up. Except the Japanese.