Wednesday WTF: CNN's Definition of "Activism"

So Scott Roeder, the alleged murderer of Kansas' only abortion provider, Dr. Tiller, is set to stand trial in September. CNN chose to report this with the following headline:
Trial set for anti-abortion activist in Kansas doctor's death

W. T. F??? No. Not even fucking close. Activism means things like protesting, organizing, donating, speaking out, calling legislators, blogging, all sorts of things. One thing that is not included under activities described in the term "activism"? MURDER, you spineless whitewashing fuckwits! Also, for the record, Dr. Tiller didn't just drop dead. He was fucking MURDERED. Remember that part?

Activists don't kill people. Murderers kill people. Learn the fucking difference, CNN.


Confronting My Privilege, Accidentally: Part 1 (Het'ro)

This past week I signed my name onto the National Marriage Boycott: "We won't, until we all can." I spent $10 to support the cause by buying a Marriage Boycott ring, a black band with silver lettering reading "EQUALITY" around it, to be worn on the left ring finger in place of (or if you're already married, in addition to) a wedding band. The idea is that, by signing on and wearing the ring, we pledge to not take advantage of the privilege of marriage until it is truly a right accessible to all Americans.

Anyone who knows me well, knows I'm not the marrying sort anyway. I laugh when people ask when TNBF and I (together for five years now) are getting married, and if they persist, I start to lay out all my issues with the institution of marriage - patriarchal tradition of property rights and inheritance, none of which is really relevant to me - until they back off. When Lieutenant would introduce me to his friends as "My buddy's wife", I would always stop the conversation and correct him. (And isn't it fun, how a vehemently anti-marriage stance goes over in military company...) So it's not like I was planning to get married, now or ever.

But I *could*. If I chose to marry one of my male Others, that is. As a bisexual cis woman, dating two hetero cis men and one bisexual cis woman, I could marry either of my boyfriends but not my girlfriend (considerations of polyamory and who's already engaged to who aside). I *could* benefit from an extension of hetero privilege. It's never occurred to me to do so, but the possibility exists. Until I signed the boycott, that is.

And when I did...I was startled by how much that affected me. I hadn't realized how deeply the option of marriage was ingrained into my psyche, as a woman who dates men, until I voluntarily removed myself from that option. Until now, I didn't want to wed, but if I changed my mind the option was always there. But there have been several times over the past few days that I would be letting my mind wander, think something about "If I got married..." and suddenly stop myself, mentally noting that until marriage equality is achieved that isn't an option for me anymore.

I hadn't realized how much I still relied on hetero privilege until then. I self-identify as queer, as more-or-less bisexual, and have my entire adult life. But the way my life has worked out, there has been no point in my dating that I have not been dating a man. I have dated women as well, but not exclusively. So I have, at all times, had access to hetero privilege. I have always had the option of drawing on that, if I wanted to, and that has shaped my entire way of approaching the world.

Confronting privilege is never easy, never fun, but I'm glad I backed myself into this corner and made myself acknowledge that particular privilege, no matter how accidentally.


If A Feminist Falls In The Woods...Is Falling A Feminist Act?

Recently I’ve gotten into a few heated exchanges on Feministing.com over my habit of critically discussing other people’s choices – particularly, other feminist-identified people’s choices. And in doing so, I’ve run up against an odd kind of group-think that I haven’t encountered much before. It goes like this: If a feminist chooses to do something, that thing is automatically a feminist act. To question the choices of a fellow feminist is to question her dedication to feminism itself, which is utterly out of bounds for a discussion between self-identified feminists. Or something like that.

I first noticed this on a thread about makeup and choosing to wear it or not. The original post was on Feministing Community, wherein the feminist in question said that she didn’t see why she had to give up wearing makeup in order to be a feminist, and that she liked wearing makeup. I posted something to the effect of, “You don’t have to give up wearing makeup to be feminist. There are a lot of feminists who wear makeup. In general, I view the wearing of makeup as adhering to the patriarchally-defined Beauty Standard, and thus an unfeminist act. However, I understand that 1: there are multiple ways to use makeup, and not all of them are for the purposes of meeting the Beauty Standard; 2: It is often advantageous to live in compliance with the Beauty Standard (after all, if there were no social reinforcement for the behavior there’d be no reason to do it) so it can make sense to choose to do so despite one’s principles, and 3: I myself wear makeup often, usually as a compliance measure, so I’m not saying you can’t or that I judge you for doing it. However, I would say that if you choose to wear makeup in a way that seeks compliance with the Beauty Standard, you should think critically about why you’re doing it and the implications of your decision.”

…and a shitstorm ensued. You’d think I had suggested that all feminists must get breast implants in order to attract more men to feminism, or something equally outrageous! I was piled-on by commenters chastising me for “judging” the OP. My comment was misrepresented repeatedly and I was attacked for saying things I had never, in fact, said. I replied by clarifying my comments, emphasizing that I wasn’t judging the OP for her choice, and again saying that I just felt we should think about what patriarchal structures our decisions may play into, without ever saying we MUST decide one way or another based on that assessment. All I was arguing was that we should think critically about the issue and make informed decisions. Is that such a sin?

Apparently, it is. Just try to say, particularly to the crowd at Feministing, that you think a feminist *shouldn’t* do something, and watch what happens. Any attempt to critically discuss a feminist’s choices – even if you carefully say that you’re not trying to actually stop her from doing what she wants – is automatically viewed as an attack on her person and her feminism.

So what constitutes a feminist act, then? Is the only criteria that it is something done by a feminist? Can non-feminists undertake feminist acts? Can a feminist undertake an anti-feminist or un-feminist act?

A feminist act, to me, is simply an act that promotes gender equality and seeks to undermine, overthrow, or otherwise disobey the dictates of the patriarchy we struggle against. An un-feminist act is one that upholds the patriarchal status quo, and an anti-feminist act is one that actively promotes patriarchy or denigrates feminism.

My father would never call himself a feminist in a million years, but if he called out a rape joke someone made in his presence and told the person making it why that wasn’t cool, I would count that a feminist act. I am a feminist and have identified as so for years, and yet I am conscious of the fact that, when I shave my legs and put on makeup to enhance my features and dress fashionably and do my hair and show off my cleavage to advantage because it makes my life easier, I am undertaking un-feminist (though not anti-feminist) acts that indicate my acceptance of patriarchal dictates on the subject of personal appearance for women. I accept that, and own that choice.

Everyone has to make their own choices. I won’t judge a feminist for choosing to undertake un-feminist acts, or try to stop her. After all, realpolitik is the rule of the world. Purists and idealists don’t usually get very far. However, it is a dangerous kind of group-think to be unwilling to ever criticize the actions of a group member. We must take responsibility for the choices we make, and sheltering ourselves from critical analysis is no way to do that.


Today in White-As-Default: Bumper Sticker Edition

So Papa Mio, always a source of conservatism in my inbox courtesy of horrid articles forwarded from the likes of the Patriot Post (Disclaimer: blogger offers no guarantee of continued good health after reading that link. Be aware of potential blood pressure spikes and spat coffee on your monitor.), sent along an email consisting of a list of pithy bumper-sticker-length slogans and phrases about Obama. It's an odd mix of the recycled-from-the-Bush-era - America: Take from the poor and give to the rich.* and If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention. - and your standard-issue whinging about taxes and such structured around Obama's campaign slogans: The audacity of hype. and Yes, we can ... destroy America!

But there's one in particular that was jarring enough to stop me as I read through, rolling my eyes the whole way. It was this:
Didn't our ancestors leave Europe to get away from this crap?

Well, sure they did.** If you're assuming that you're only speaking to the descendants of the original colonists, from Europe, who chose to emigrate to the Americas. Not so much, though, if you're taking into account the descendants of the thousands upon thousands of Africans shipped across as chattel, who make up a rather significant portion of modern society. I'm pretty sure their ancestors didn't CHOOSE to leave, nor were they coming from Europe, and sure as shit taxes didn't have fuck all to do with it.

Yet another example of privileging white history as default and relegating black history to the shadows. Sigh. Not that I expect better from a middle-aged, affluent, able-bodied, white, cisgender man - much as I love him, he's got pretty much every kind of privilege possible - who is avowedly a conservative and no ally to marginalized groups...but I can still hope. And send a snarky reply-all. ;-)

*Um...isn't this kind of a liberal's complaint about conservative policies, not the other way around? I don't get how this makes the list of conservative slogans.

**No, they didn't, actually. But that's a discussion of the historical merits of that claim, which would take more time than I have for it right now. Feel free to have at in comments, if you like.


Wednesday WTF: The Sex Gym

Sorry I'm a bit late with the Wednesday WTF this week, it's been a busy day. Also for the dry week this past; got a bunch of new stuff to put up starting tomorrow, be patient!

So it's been all over the progressive blogosphere how Faux News had some anal-chapeau on, wearing a "no chubbies" t-shirt no less, to talk shit about Dr. Regina Benjamin, Obama's pick for Surgeon General, cause OMGZ SHE'S FATZ! And gods know fat people are all stupid and lazy and do nothing but eat cupcakes all day long. There's no way an overweight person could also be a qualified doctor, amirite?

Anyway. So this rectal-haberdasher, named Michael Karolchyk, owns a gym, called "The Anti-Gym" (NSFW), originally in Denver but now in Southern California because the IRS raided his Denver gym after he welshed on six figures worth of back-taxes so he ran off to a new state. Anywho! This charming Anti-Gym is all! about! sex! Tagline: Have Sex With The Lights On. Which, naturally, is only for skinny people. We all know fat people don't have sex, and gods know they don't have sex with the lights on. The only way they can get any is by keeping in the dark so as not to offend their partners' delicate sensibilities.

The website is full of graphically suggestive, NSFW images of Very Thin And Beautiful people gettin' it on as a reward for their thinness. Like, for example, the two hot chicks lapping at one lollipop - seriously? That's just not even trying for creativity. Might as well add a flashing sign that says "Substitute Your Penis Here!"- or the guy with his tongue in one woman's mouth while another bites his neck, or the guy with a woman's panties in his teeth. Apparently, gods forbid you be gay, or at least gay and male. Gay and female is okay, as the image of two women with orgasmic expressions gasping at each other shows, so long as you're doing it for the viewing pleasure of teh menz.

Motivational tactics at the Anti-Gym include throwing baked goods at members on the treadmill, and if you don't measure up at their weekly assessments, you're kicked out of the gym. For atmosphere, you've got a live DJ, cage dancers, and the "Ravish Room", a sauna reserved for those members below a certain BMI.

Are you fucking kidding me? This thing is like the bastard love-child of a shady nightclub, a 70's swingers club, and one of those weight-loss boot camps. Who the fuck goes to something like this?

I think I'll just look at this gym-cum-sex-club like I look at swastika t-shirts: it's a warning label. If you're a member, I know to steer well clear of you.

Also, a tip o' the fedora to wondrous wordsmith CaitieCat for all the asshat euphemisms!


Quick Hit: 15-yr-old WoC pilots cross-country flight

You may have noticed that aviation is a subject near to my roots and dear to my heart, though I no longer fly myself. So this story...is definitely sniffle-worthy.

Kimberly Anyadike, age 15, has just become the youngest known WoC to fly across the country, in a single-engine Cessna from Compton, CA to Newport News, VA. She learned to fly through an after-school program with Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum in Compton that offers lessons to at-risk and economically disadvantaged youth. Among her reasons for doing this, she says, was to honor the Tuskegee Airmen, the segregated unit of black airmen during WWII. Levi Thornhill, an 87-yr-old veteran of the Tuskegee Airmen, made the flight with her, and along the way they stopped and met 50 other veterans, who autographed the plane.

"That way, they can fly with us forever."

Sniffle. Kimberly, I salute you, and your determination to stand forth as an example of what can be done, while honoring those who came before. You are awesome. Thank you.

Wednesday WTF (Part II): Just slap some boobs on there and call it a day.

Came across this via Sociological Images, which you should be reading if you aren't already. Following is the chronological progression of online ads for a game called Evony:

Pretty innocuous, right? Dude with sword and armor. Standard for the genre. But it goes on:

Sadly, also pretty standard. Pretty maiden enticing assumed-to-be-male player. Bleh, yeah, reinforces idea of gamer=man, woman as prop, etc. But still not bad, as far as these things go. Until it continued:

Still playing the "my Lord" game, and you notice that though it uses "lover" singular, there are two fainting decolletage-y women waiting for you? Don't worry, we're not done yet:

Um, ok. Off of real-ish women and onto plainly cartoonish ones, but this one is kneeling and gazing at you piteously, begging you to save her! Also there's a suspiciously phallic phantom half-a-sword dangling over her cleavage. Seriously, are they even trying anymore? Why not just put a big red arrow and say "Look! Boobies! Right here! And the sword stands for a penis!" Sadly, however, we have not yet reached rock bottom. With increasing desperation:

So now we have a woman with an expression that could pretty easily be read as the transports of post-coital bliss, with the kind of cleavage that makes even me sit and wonder "Is that a hint of areola I see?" And the text, which no longer makes any pretense of talking about the game, but rather borrows phrasing and tone from the late-night "singles chat" ads: "Talk discreetly with other singles in your area, NOW!" See, this woman here, she stands for a hot and available real-life woman. And our game stands for you having sex with her. Don't you want to play? NOW? But we have STILL not reached the end in this race-for-the-bottom! Perceive:

Are. You. Fucking. Kidding me? Having given up even the pretense of anything to do with the game, in terms of background, font, lighting, costuming, anything at all, Evony goes for the slap-you-with-a-brick style of marketing: LOOK BOOBIES, NOW PLAY OUR GAME. BECAUSE YOU LIKE BOOBIES. EVERYONE LIKES BOOBIES. EVEN WHEN THEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE TOPIC AT HAND.

And after all that boob-heavy marketing? There are no queens and no women characters in the game. At all. In fact, it's apparently come up so often that Evony's FAQ had to address this:
How do I get my queen?
There is no queen in this game, the ad you saw is for marketing purposes and seems to be highly effective by the number of times this question has come up.

That sound you just heard? Was my forehead and my keyboard meeting in a glorious dance of WTF. That is all.

Wednesday WTF (Part I): There's an app for that!

Today's Wednesday WTF will be in two parts. I just couldn't narrow my wtf-ery down to one topic. Look for the second part later today.

Today's Wednesday WTF comes to you courtesy of the iPhone apps store. (via & via) There is, apparently, really an app for everything these days. New to the iPhone apps store, a purity pledge app, complete with a purity ring graphic you can display on your phone after agreeing to the app's purity pledge. WTF?

There are two ways to look at this: either it's intended for people who wouldn't have taken a purity pledge otherwise, only now it's delivered to them in this new and convenient format! or it's intended as an extension on the physical purity pledge/ring for the type of person who is already into the whole abstinence thing. Either way, it makes no sense.

If you're the type who has already chosen to remain abstinent until marriage, and you've already perhaps taken a "purity" pledge (and that's not even touching the plethora of issues surrounding the notion of "purity" as the absence of sexuality, but I digress) and would wear or already do wear a purity ring...why bother with the app? So you get an image of a purity ring to display on your phone. Whooo, how exciting. Also, isn't part of the point of the purity ring to A: "warn off" strangers or acquaintances that they won't be getting any with you, and B: remind yourself in the heat of the moment, when you see your ring, what you've pledged? How does this app do either of those things? Unless you walk around flashing your iPhone at everyone you talk to, or have a habit of constantly picking up and looking at your phone during potentially sexual situations. And if that's the case, you have a problem that goes deeper than meaningless apps and you should probably seek help for your iPhone dependency.

So what about those who have never been exposed to the opportunity to take an abstinence pledge? Do you really think that some random person, probably with fairly healthy sexual appetites as most adults have, is going to see a purity ring app and suddenly decide, "Hey, this sounds meaningful! I'm going to sign my name on the virtual dotted line and get a nifty ring graphic to show for it!" And if they do...how long do you think that'll last? Given that purity pledges fail to be effective even when promised by fervent believers1, do you really think Random Person is going to be swayed to celibacy by a freaking iPhone app?

And if you really do believe that...there's an app for that, too.

1. "Among those youngsters, 61 percent of the consistent pledgers and 79 percent of the inconsistent pledgers reported having intercourse before marrying", from linked article.


TIME: Silly Wimmenz and their Silly Spending!

So TIME magazine runs an article on their website, titled Why Women Aren't Richer. It boils down to this: Silly wimmenz, just stop and THINK before you whip out the credit card for that new designer purse!

The author starts out by discussing the 2-5% of Americans who are "compulsive buyers", noting that compulsive buyers are about equally split between men and women. But from there, she starts talking about the 12-15% of American women who can be classified as "excessive buyers" (basically defined as those who engage in retail-therapy shopping) with no mention of any corresponding figures for American men. Is there any percentage of American men who are classified as "excessive buyers"? Is it as evenly distributed as "compulsive buyers"? And because that's not enough gender stereotyping, she goes on to propose her own, totally unsubstantiated "theory" of wimmenz' spending: It's my hypothesis that an even greater share of American women are what might be called periodic excessive buyers. They buy things they later regret.

Because gods know, men never suffer buyer's remorse. Nope. Men make completely logical, rational decisions and never second-guess themselves later. It's only women whose silly ladybrains make them indulge in retail therapy. I'll admit, I do engage in retail therapy myself - more often than is good for my wallet, for sure - but you know? Among my group of family and friends, I'm not the only one who does so. And the tendency to retail therapy is spread pretty evenly between genders, in my experience. The author, on the other hand, doesn't deign to offer even the slightest shred of anecdotal evidence supporting her "theory". Just throws it out there, like it's totally self-evident and we need no convincing, cause women just love to shop, amirite?

So can we please stop acting like women are the only ones who act impulsively, already? Or like women are innately drawn to shop? For all that this article purports to be "helpful" in offering strategies for those who impulsively spend to feel better, it's just common sense wrapped up in sexist phrasing. Lazy "journalism" at its finest.

When Public Streets Are Private Property, Part II

Following the detaining and arrest of a gay couple in SLC, Utah the other day for daring to kiss each other on the cheek in front of the LDS temple, SLC activists staged a "kiss-in" on the Main Street Plaza yesterday morning. (via) The demonstrators, both gay and straight couples and friends, gathered along the edges of the LDS-owned property line, where the God Squad waited to ensure not one affectionate toe crossed over. The couple who were detained for their Ebil Gayness the other day attended the protest as well, but stayed in the background.

I think this was a great way to draw attention to the issue and protest it - and on a Sunday morning, no less! Awesome.


When Public Streets Are Private Property

Note: Yeah, I know this is turning into a wordy weekend, but when I came across this via Pam's House Blend, I couldn't stay silent.

So it seems a gay couple was walking the Main Street Plaza in Salt Lake City, Utah, when one leaned over and gave his partner a quick kiss on the cheek. Sweet and harmless, right? Not if you do it on a public street - the main walking thoroughfare in downtown SLC - that's actually owned by the virulently anti-gay Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The LDS church's enforcers showed up posthaste, roughed them up, including putting one of them on the ground to cuff him, and cited them for trespassing. Because apparently, Main Street Plaza is kinda-sorta actually part of LDS church land in addition to being a public street. And if you dare to be publicly gay on LDS property, they're gonna call the God Squad on you! I guess two men sharing an brief moment of affection was so dangerous that it justified pseudo-arresting them. After all, who knows what they were going to do next? If not for the timely and totally-justified intervention of the LDS God Squad, good innocent Mormon children might have been exposed to the heinous sight of men holding hands! Or they might have heard one man call the other "sweetie"! Those children could have been scarred for life by the knowledge that gay people exist!

This is why progressives would like religions to keep themselves to themselves. No church has the right to impose its standards of behavior in public spaces, and this kind of thing is the outcome when the line between religion and public space blurs.

Flying the White-and-Dudely Skies

My father is a pilot, flying in business aviation since before I was born. So is one of my uncles, though it was only ever a hobby for him. I took my first ride in an airplane when I was 2 months old, and Dad strapped my car seat into the copilot's seat and took me for a flight with him. I grew up shadowing him around the hangar when the bosses weren't around, sitting around in FBOs (Fixed Base Operation, customer care center for private and business aircraft and their crews, there's one at nearly every airport) waiting for him and watching various small planes take off and land for hours. I never got my pilot's license officially, but I took lessons in both glider (non-powered) and single-engine small aircraft.

So I grew up around pilots, on the edges of aviation culture, all my life. And yet it's only recently that I've suddenly realized the full force of sexism that permeates the Dudely Culture of the skies.

I'm taking some summer classes at the local community college this summer, and one of my classes is Intro to Public Speaking. Our first big project was an informative speech, topic of our choice. I picked corporate aviation, since it's something I grew up steeped in and something very few people would have foreknowledge of. Of course, my dad was my easiest and best resource for researching this speech; from him I got some "personal interview" type of information, and I also skimmed a few recent issues of his trade publications, notably Professional Pilot.

And as I wandered through the pages of their June 2009 issue, searching for relevant tidbits to pepper my speech with, something started to bother me. I pushed it aside and went about my research, but eventually I couldn't let it go any more. I started from the beginning of the magazine and went through it page by page, doing a Not White Man count. Wanna know what I found?

Let's start with the cover. June 2009's featured flight department was Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories. Six people on the cover, backgrounded by their Citation jet. Four men, two women, all white. The men? CEO, two pilots, and the mechanic. The women? The CEO's wife and the dispatcher.

Within the magazine, the first PoC were to be found in an advertisement for an FBO in Mexico, about three women and a couple dozen men. The next Not White Man was a white woman beaming out from the page, laying out a welcome mat in another FBO ad - oh, THAT'S original, the woman's positioned to take Such. Good. Care. of you wonderful Dudely Dudes! Finally we come to an article with pictures of people instead of just airplanes. The verdict? 99% white men, spread out over four pages, with one white woman (the wife of an owner of one of the jets), and one Asian man (CEO of Honda's aircraft development subsidiary). Ooh, there are more women! An advertisement for an aircraft service center. Guess where the women (white, of course) are? Behind the counter, providing service for the Dudely Dude who's brought his airplane in for work. After that, I find the first PoC in something other than an advertisement: a Latino man in the feature on SEL's flight department, surrounded by more white men, both mechanics and pilots. A couple pages into the feature on SEL, there are two pictures side-by-side. One is a group of white men, all mechanics who work on the plane. The other is a group of white women, all dispatchers.

At last! On page seventy-fucking-two, I finally find a woman (white, of course) doing something OTHER than providing background support services for the Dudely Dude pilots and owners. She's a first officer photographed in the midst of performing preflight checks in the cockpit. Holy shit, there's a woman! In the Dude seats! Of course, the article is written by a white man, as have all the other articles so far.

So the count, for the June 2009 issue of Professional Pilot, stands thus: Outside of ads, a total of six women, all white, all but one support staff or wives, and two MoC, one business exec and one pilot. No WoC at all. In ads, a half-dozen women, half white and half WoC, all in service positions, positioned and framed to be the best possible assets to Dudely Dudes, and another dozen or so PoC, also in service positions. The rest of the article is filled with white men. The articles are all written by white men.

Tell me again how we live in a post-racial, post-feminist society?

And now I'm remembering the incidents I shrugged off when I was younger. The fact that I was routinely the ONLY woman at the gliderport on Saturdays when I was taking my lessons. The fact that the other pilots (men, all of them) often wouldn't want me to run the wing or hook their tow rope for them, preferring to get the other student, who was the same age as me but male, to do it for them. The "cockpit" jokes I heard so often, from my dad and his friends. "Of course we can't have woman pilots. They don't call it a cockpit for no reason! What would we call it then, a vaginapit?" And hearty guffaws would ensue, as if the idea of a woman in the cockpit was the most ridiculous thing they'd heard in years. The Hooters t-shirt, two sizes too small for me, that my dad's copilot bought for me on one of their trips and then gave to me as a "joke" (and which my dad thought was hilarious)...when I was 13. The fact that, in my 23 years of life, I cannot remember my dad ever working with a woman or a PoC (or gods forbid, a WoC!) pilot.

I decided a long time ago I didn't want to be a pilot. Shit like this, though...it's almost enough to make me reconsider, just to challenge the trend.


Quick Philosophy: Subjective Reality

I was privileged, today, to observe the most beautiful and concise phrasing of the philosophy of subjective reality (to which I myself subscribe) that I've ever seen:

Individual reality is subjective. There is more than one. In a way, each of us is our own universe, because each of us IS the Universe. It is BECAUSE we are all connected that we are able to still remain separate and distinct. Reality is instantly altered by perception.

This is how Otherworld is as real to me as this world. This is how I lose patience when people refuse to accept that two ideas can exist at the same time and both be valid. No One can be everything, but by embracing everything, we can all be One.

This bit of wisdom comes to us courtesy of SugarLeigh, in comments at Shakesville. Her blog can be found here.


Wednesday WTF: Religious Reality TV

Note: I've always liked the idea of doing regular features. So this is the start of my Wednesday WTF series, which will be a collection of the recent events, stories, and experiences that have made me stop and go WTF.

You know this joke, right? It goes: A rabbi, an imam, a priest and a Buddhist monk walk into a TV studio... Well, I haven't made up a punchline yet, but the story (via) supplies it for me pretty nicely. A Turkish TV station is planning a new reality show wherein the aforementioned religious officials each try to convert ten atheists, who have all been pre-screened for genuine lack of belief by a "team of theologians", on-camera. The converts will win a trip to their new religion's holy land: Mecca, the Vatican, Jerusalem or Tibet. WTF? So you "pre-screen" people to make sure they really don't believe in god (because, y'know, it's totes impossible that someone could lie about that), and then you let a few religiony dudes have at them, and if they can get the atheists to say "Ok, I'm in!" the newly-religious wins a free vacation (albeit one with supposed religious significance)?

Oh, yeah. Totally no potential for lying, cheating, and abuse of the "system" in this. All the "converts" are gonna be 110% truly converted and committed to their new faith, yep yep. Because NOBODY would even THINK to profess faith they don't feel when it'll get them a free trip. Not to mention, where exactly is the entertainment factor in this? Seriously, who finds it entertaining to watch people get preached at? WTF?


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