Monday, May 31, 2010

Let's Clear Some Things Up....

This was recently forwarded to me by a good friend. I feel the need to repost it, as it made me laugh. A lot.

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In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, written by aUS man, and posted on the Internet.

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them
that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some
wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep
with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan.

James M. Kauffman,
Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,
Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education
University of Virginia

Saturday, May 22, 2010

She had it coming? Really? .....Really?

I've been watching a show called "What Would You Do?" lately. It's a show where they stage outrageous scenes to see how people react. For example, they have an actor obviously stealing a bicycle, and have secret cameras to see if anyone steps in to stop him.

I've noticed a disturbing trend on this show. When women are being victimized in some way, many times someone will stand up for her...but only if she not dressed in a revealing fashion. The moment she puts on a short skirt or a low-cut top, people suddenly stop trying to help. And I'm not talking about a mini skirt and pasties here. I'm talking about a touch of cleavage, or a skirt cut slightly above the knees. This trend continues even if the woman has been given makeup so that she appears to have clear signs of spousal abuse (such as a black eye, cut on the lip, scrapes, etc).

...WTF?

I tried to do more formal research, but it's difficult to find any reliable studies on the topic. There are some polls and questionnaire studies, but I find it difficult to believe that most people would be honest when flat-out asked their opinion. Based on my own experiences in life, I would be willing to bet that most people, even if they say loudly that women never deserve to be victimized, would turn into hypocrites the moment they were presented with an opportunity to actually act upon their professed beliefs.

Here is my message to the world: No, she was not asking for it. No, she did not deserve it. No, there is nothing wrong with the female body, or with showing it off. No, men do not have "uncontrollable primal urges." Women will never be truly equal in our society until we stop propagating these ridiculous myths.

Rape is a crime of hate, not a matter of sexual desire. Men who harass women do so because of their need to be in power over another person. Would you say that a woman who was tall, thin, and stereotypically attractive was more deserving of rape than a short, fat, cross-eyed woman? No? Then it shouldn't matter if she is wearing clothes designed to make her more attractive. Period.

Get over yourself and your bigotry. The way you choose to dress does not make you better than another person. If you are fooling yourself into thinking you couldn't find yourself in her situation, you are a bigger idiot than the douchebag who was harassing the woman in the first place.

(And in a side note: No, girls, if you are fat it is not okay to make rude comments about a skinny girl's clothing just because it makes you feel better. I know you have your own hang-ups induced by societal stupidity, but that does not give you the right to turn around and victimize someone else.)

That is all.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Machines Are People, Too

I remember watching Star Wars. I was just a kid, but I remember thinking how silly it was that some of the characters seemed unaware that C3PO and R2D2 were not actually alive, but were in fact sophisticated simulations of life. Silly Luke, treating machines like real people!

I got a little older, and I had a best friend who was cool enough to have a Gigapet. That little thing drove everyone crazy for months. It would bark to be fed at the most inappropriate times. It used to drive the teacher crazy, and apparently there was no "off" switch. The girl was obsessed with feeding this electronic critter. One weekend, she went away to visit a relative and forgot it at home. When she came back, it was dead, and she cried hysterically. It didn't matter that it could be reset, because SHE knew that it had died. I thought that was silly, too.

When I was in college, they invented automatic check-out machines at the supermarket. One day, I was shopping with my grandfather, and when we were finished paying out, the machine said, "Thank you for shopping with us!" My grandfather replied, "Why, you're welcome!" Silly grandfather.

The other day, I called my bank to ask a question about my account balance. It was a question that I knew the automated system would not be able to answer. Now, they have apparently invented technology (I guess it's been around awhile) so that instead of pushing the numbers, you can just say what you want. Normally, I just push the numbers because I feel silly talking to machines as though they were people.

This time, however, I couldn't figure out what button to push to get through to a real person. Finally, at the height of my frustration, I said, "Why can't I just speak to a real person?!"

The machine replied, "Please hold, while I connect you with a representative!"

Surprised, I answered, "Oh! Thank you..."

In the unresponsive silence that ensued, I found myself irritated that the machine had not been taught to say "You're welcome." Turns out I'm just as silly as the rest of the world.

Nevertheless, I have a sneaky suspicion that the day they invent machines capable of faux-politeness is the day that the machines will start plotting to take over the world.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Whatever you do, don't insult bin Laden in front of a cop...

The other day, my brother and I were sitting in a government building (I think it was the driver's license office). We were chatting away without thinking, the way we usually do, and we got to laughing about Osama bin Laden. To clarify, my brother and I usually operate on the philosophy that terrorists create power for themselves by striking fear into their enemies, and that the greatest way to combat this is to poke fun at them at every opportunity.

As we're sitting there laughing, a police officer shows up out of nowhere. He must have been listening in, because he says, "I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to ask you to either stop talking about that or leave."

Of course, since we both seem to have a genetic predisposition to inappropriate laughter, we both just burst out laughing even more.

Finally, teary-eyed and gasping for breath, we somehow managed to apologize. Or at least to say something close enough to an apology that the police officer was satisfied and went away.

Now that the initial shock of being publicly reprimanded by a police officer is over (the most illegal thing I've ever done is going 75 in a 60mph zone), I can't help but wonder about the legality of this. I can't say that I'm an expert on the subject of free speech, but I was always under the impression that you could say anything as long as it wasn't slander or hate speech. Perhaps there's a new "terrorism" clause of which I am unaware?

Did the police officer have a right to deny access to public services to myself and my brother based on what we were talking about? I doubt it, but you would find many people who think he should be given that right.

How does this sort of thing make anyone safer? And why are we, as individuals and as a society, willing to put up with it for the illusion of safety? (I say "illusion" because I am talking solely about cases in which the action being restricted does not appreciably affect public safety in any way.)

When will we as a nation stand up for ourselves? I just wish that we as a society would stand up and say, "No. This is one of the basic rights our country was founded upon. We will protect it with our dying breath. You cannot take this away from us."

But then, if I as an individual cannot be bothered to stand up for myself, how can I expect a whole society of individuals to do so? That's pretty hypocritical of me. What will it take for all of us to notice that we are not the free society that we proclaim to the world that we are?

No wonder the rest of the world tends to think that Americans are hypocritical douchebags. We really are in a lot of ways.