Back in the day so long ago it wasn't considered old-fashioned to say "back in the day," I was quite a student (both grammar school and high school valedictorian, if you must know). Even then there was one type of test that tended to give me fits--the true/false exam. Now I realize that just means I developed a sense of nuance early in life, and realized how often either/or thinking isn't thinking at all. Indeed, many such questions fail to ask the right question in the first place, such as the classic "have you stopped beating your wife--yes or no?" It's not just over-simplification or bullying; it's often a way to avoid the matter we should most discuss. Just think about the "if you don't support President Bush then you don't support the troops" folks as a recent blatant example that hopes to make it impossible for you to even question the endless, unwinnable quagmire we're in*.
Just recently we have two more examples of either/or insanity, one Santa Barbara local, one global. Over at Sara de la Guerra's place
people have got into a huge tizzy about Paseo Chapala and downtown development. In the longish comment thread we get to twice hear from someone billing himself "Hiram Johnson," and who ends his first post with, "Let the market decide what kind of growth and where. Anything but letting the market decide is socialism! Either you're a free marketeer or your [sic] a socialist stooge."
Now, how someone posting as Hiram Johnson--who as a republican senator voted for FDR's New Deal (until he tried to pack the Supreme Court)--can then dump on any government intervention is puzzling, to say the least. His language, of course, is telling--you can be a marketeer, which sounds fun and fuzzy and close to Mouseketeer (who wouldn't want to be Annette Funicello? let's ignore the more recent crop, though, ok, Britney?) while everyone else gets to be a stooge.
It's particularly striking he sets up an unbending dichotomy between two things that economists argue can't really exist in their pure states anyway. Is theoretical socialism what happened in the USSR or China? Does the U.S. have a truly free market economy? So if we're already playing games with continuums, how are we supposed to line up on one side or the other?
Of course when it comes to lining up one one side or another, you can't beat the centuries of experience the Catholic Church brings to the table. From Reuters we learn
:The Vatican on Wednesday condemned the film The Golden Compass, which some have called anti-Christian, saying it promotes a cold and hopeless world without God.
Perhaps it's just me, but any film starring Eva Green
(she's hot enough I can link to a SFW photo and you'll still get the point) makes a good argument there has to be a higher power, but I can see why the Vatican might not agree (she's not a young boy). Snark aside, it drives me nuts when the Church thinks it should tell all its people not to see something. Is the Catholic Church that weak that one viewing of a film will tear it down? So much for faith like a rock.
Reuters goes on to say:The U.S.-based Catholic League [ed. note--you knew William A. Donohue would be hot on this one, didn't you?], a conservative group, has urged Christians not to see the movie, saying that its objective was "to bash Christianity and promote atheism" to children.
Must be some film if it can turn children into atheists in two hours (it took years of Catholic school to make me one). But for the "either you don't ever see this film OR you're a good Catholic" group, that's exactly how it works. The article also claims:Still, some Catholic groups in the United States have called for a boycott, fearing even a diluted version of the book might draw people to read the bestselling trilogy.
Horrors! People might read!
Why is thought so frightening to these folks? Don't they want their ideas tested, faith challenged and made strong? If I remember my Bible even Christ had his moments of doubt in Gethsemane, and if the son of God himself can question, lords know us sinners deserve a bit of slack.
Perhaps we need to cut the church some slack, though. The article says, "The Vatican newspaper called the movie 'the most anti-Christmas film possible,'" which shows they just don't get out enough. This very December 25 Pope Ratzky-Watzky and his Kollege of Kardinals could hit the local Rome megaplex to see Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem
being sold with the tagline "This Christmas there will be no peace on Earth." If that's not enough for them, there's two Black Christmas
films to chose from on DVD, with the 2006 version offering burnt body, inbreeding, disfigurement, eye-gouging, blood-splatter, and more (it's quite a list of plot--haha--keywords at IMDB
). Of course that sort of sounds like a good day at the Crusades, so the Catholic Church might not have any problems with it.
*The escalation might have helped us do better militarily, but Iraq is no closer to being a stable political entity, so don't tell me we're winning. OK?
Labels: 50/50 ain't nothing but a raffle, Catholics constantly re-can't