There are myriad ways to fuck-up the eye-blink of time you have to live and figure out what living and your life might mean. One of our favorite targets is Christianity's polluting effect on reason, rationality, and common sense provided by the wonderful world of faith belief, and magical thinking in its dance with political madness and elsewhere.
Curated or Cremated?
Sometimes a title is more than enough
Christian questions? Please consider the existentialists have it easy: nothing to worry about, including bed sheet thread counts.
Anybody home? Anybody?
But yer not there...
Why We Still Need to Worry About F&*kin’ Trump
Causa Sui and You and Me
50 Days ’til Election 2020 & now 2022 midterms are here!
I have this fear, almost a terror that all the madness masquerading as “normal life” is connected to something horrible; Sexual frustration/repression, Drunken nights, Bad mornings, 9 to 5 assembly lines, Gold watch retirements, All of it connected to the common sense concept that nuclear war, total destruction, is a risk we have to live with...
...that heaven, the evangelical radio/tv version, would be simpler than all the pain that comes with living.
This fear and terror becomes a guy driving a late model SUV or mini-van; his wife riding shotgun, bloated and silent., and a couple of kids who he barely knows fighting or sullen in the backseat.
And this guy is thinking, “God’s will be done,”
Unaware that he half hopes for that manmade flash of white light and blue heat that to him is God screaming —
My fear, my terror is that this guy pays his taxes, owes more than he makes, and can’t ever seem to get ahead. Yet on Nov. 3, 2020, he’ll get in there and vote for Trump because...because ...well, just because...
He lives in New York City or Spokane, L.A., Palm Springs, or Dusty, South Dakota.
He only says “Jesus” when he prays or when he wishes, unaware, that it all was over — My fear and terror is that he no longer knows the difference between prayers and wishes, wishes and prayers.
For him the unthinkable needn’t be thought, just prayed for, wished for — Jesus, oh, Jesus, I hope I’m wrong.
But we all know that I am not.
Some of my best friends...
Friendships change, always
I used to be able to say, proudly, that some of my best friends are Jewish. From childhood, it always felt better to say "Jewish" than "Jew." I thought back then that the word Jew was as insulting as the '"n" word came to be. And the reason I thought this was because some people used the word that way. As Wittgenstein put it so perfectly "An expression only has meaning within the stream of life."
My being born in 1947 a mere two years after the holocaust made the story of Jewish persecution nearly living history for me.
As a teen, a few decades later came the SixDay War between the Jewish State of Israel and a bunch of the Arab world.
I also shamefully discovered the existence of pubic hair on women by looking at Jewish women being herded across a railway yard at Auschwitz by smiling Nazis holding machine guns, in my father's Pictorial History of WW2, Time/Life oversized, coffee table book. Those women looked beautiful to me, as confused as I was by their situation.
All of these experiences, and having been raised in an all-white middle-class WASP American suburb, slanted my feelings about Jews. I admired them and was always happy to find myself in a friendship with them. I became uncomfortable with and stopped using the slang "Are you going to try and jew him down?" and with the casual insult of "Jewish lightning" to suggest insurance fraud by arson.
I made lots of Jewish friends. Some of my best friends...
Recently, though, I've had a dispirited falling out, or something similar, with three, once close Jewish friends. I absolutely don't feel that these estrangements have anything to do with their Jewishness or my Atheism. And yet somehow I've lost these intimate contacts almost simultaneously.
I possess a Master of Science in Applied Psychology, the "science" part b/c of my study of research methods and statistical analysis, thus I can assure you with professional objectivity and certainty that an N (number) of 3 (three) is insufficient to make any reliable and trustworthy conclusions. Three subjects in science are just too small a sample.
Nonetheless, because each of these once friends, now not so much so, is Jewish, when I recently came across the piece below, about my abject horror and incomprehension regarding anti-semitism, I decided to re-post it. This is partly to reassure me and the world that this recent falling out, or something similar, with these once treasured souls, has nothing to do with their ethnicity or religion.
I suppose this is kind of a non-mea-culpa since each of these broken friendships has clear, easily traceable reasons for occurring that are likely settled by an Occam's Razor (the simplest and most common) explanation:
Sometimes friendships of very long standing slowly erode into nothing.
Sometimes friendships new and fresh and delightfully intense end as they began, unexpectedly, suddenly, without much or any warning.
And in any event, ALL friendships change over time and there's never more than a 50/50 chance that they'll change for the better than that they'll go in the other direction.
By the way, I have some Catholic pals, and atheist comrades, and nymphomaniacal former paramours, and Lutherans and plumbers and poets and sports fans and relatives thru earlier marriages and every other type of human you can imagine who have also fallen by the wayside over the years.
So happy fuckin' Hanaka or whatever, etc.
I am presently accepting applications for a new set of Jewish friends to replace recent losses in these ranks.
When love and friendship are lost in this life, the wise man seeks a replacement. This is my Replacement Theory.
Yep, and fuck you, Tucker Carlson.
Psychopaths and Sociopaths: Mar-a-Lago Edition
Relational vs Transactional
One of the most common descriptors of serial killers, from their neighbors, family members, and co-workers who have known them in real life is how normal they seemed to be. Just the guy next door. And how difficult it is to believe that they could have done the horrific crimes that they are later convicted of having done.
Serial Killers are merely the most notorious of Anti-social personality types. They are not psychotic. They’re able to understand what healthy, “normal” people accept as right and wrong. This allows them to go undetected often for long periods of time.
Serial Killers are psychopaths and sociopaths. Although one sounds much worse than the other, there’s no real difference between them. Both are characterized primarily by an inability to feel empathy towards others.
For a narcissistic antisocial personality, other people are like bugs or a couch or elevator music, something perhaps noticed but not anything to worry or think about much.
If an insect is bothering you, you might try to eliminate it, either by catching it and putting it out of your space or by killing it.
If you want to sit down, a couch can be handy and useful, but when you are ready to get up and move forward you leave the couch and any thoughts of it behind.
Elevator music, unless it’s a tune you recognize and hum along to, is just some kind of vague noise, a background sound of little or no importance, quickly forgotten.
For psychopaths and sociopaths, other people are simply objects, useful or not, valued for their usefulness or ignored because they have no utility.
In real life AND on social media in our relationships built online and in the virtual world, to the psychopath and sociopath, other people are insignificant unless they have some usefulness.
For people who are not psychopaths or sociopaths and who are not on the continuum of antisocial personality disorders, friendships can be built on shared interests, common experiences, and mutual valuing of one another. There is nothing wrong with transactional relationships so long as the nature of these connections is clear to both parties. But herein lies the difficulty.
This clarity is impossible to achieve with antisocial personalities because they have no interest in, nor any capacity to even recognize the needs of others. Donald Trump’s success in life is in large part made possible by people who cannot see him for who and what he is: a grifter con-man, liar, psychopath, and egomaniac. We have all met Trumpian types of people throughout our lives, people who we thought shared interests with us, and cared about us on a level at which we cared about them. Just the regular guy next door.
It is only when that individual determines that there is nothing more we can do to advance his or her agenda, that they drop out of our lives without a moment’s thought or any further pretense of friendship. We are ghosted. We are often surprised and hurt by this treatment, unaware that this social connection meant nothing to the other, especially to someone we valued and considered a friend.
The fact is, this is not personal.
The psychopath or sociopath never had any more feelings for others than you or I have for a couch we once sat upon or from some muzac serving as simple background noise or an insect flying by outside our window.
You wouldn’t ask a one-legged friend to go jogging with you. Expecting a person with an antisocial personality disorder to care about you and your feelings of friendship is equally absurd, if not quite as easily observable.
It would be better if psychopaths, sociopaths, and other either sick or evil individuals looked like what they actually are, a different species, dangerous and capable of enormous harm. If this was the case, perhaps they’d have a bit more trouble being elected to positions of great power.
A Christian Angle on Joyful Bitterness
Because life goes on, until it doesn’t
Getting old, well, older anyway, has among its benefits, joyful bitterness.
Bad as that might sound to those of you younger and still full of hope, we older ones learn hard realities that only time can teach us.
For instance, friendships in their DNA have paltry limitations, built-in expiration dates. Also our capacity for sexual delusions is not, indeed, endless.
Allow me to present a pair of examples of what leads to joyful bitterness on a Christian Express train to perdition.
Think of a serial killer, strapped to a gurney in a Texas prison, smiling benignly over his certainty that god has forgiven him all his sins and will be welcoming him home as soon after the needle has finished it’s work.
Oh for the blessings of being saved. Thank You Jesus!
I lift a glass of whiskey to my lips and stare at the perfect ass and big boobs of a lovely/sexy woman passing by.
She doesn’t glance my way and if she did I’d be invisible to her.
She may not be thinking about her striking beauty or about, just now, flicking her head so her long shiny hair obeys her command to keep a view of her face unobstructed —
Or she may be thinking exactly about how sexy she is?
She’s a woman, after all and songs, legends, myths, lives, deaths have been forever and always will be devoted to her slightest whims —
That is, if she looks this gorgeous.
Ahhhhh... but now I see it: she wears a tiny, shiny, adorable gold cross on chain around her perfect neck, hanging down into an ample cleavage framed in soft pastel baby-blue of her V-neck sweater — such purity! such a soft, smooth, invitation!
Is my age the thing that shows me this truth? Or simply the terrible accumulation of such experiences; because I’ve seen this woman, or one just like her, a hundred, a thousand, tens of thousands of times. And this morning as she walks staring at her phone and perhaps she Tweets simple thoughts her sentimental notions about love, her cat(s), her favorite drink the prettiness of rainbows the unfairness of a friend or her sad, sad day —
And we men, seeing her flick her hair away, regardless of our age or status our wealth/fame/muscles/lack thereof regardless of any and all else, stop whatever we’re doing and we tweet our regards, our sympathies our admiration, our kind words our deepest understanding. We re-tweet her vapid empty notions as if they matter to us. We “Favorite” all her tweets as if they matter greatly. Greatly! Because well, you never know. . .
Joyful bitterness comes from finally seeing/hearing, listening/noticing things that have always been right in front of us but that for whatever combination of reasons we somehow managed to not quite notice until we do.
It has taken time to learn that honesty always comes with a price, that directness often leads to some loss — and that age has little to do with it other than the truth that it takes decades to attain through then gentle joys of bitterness, things we’d rather not have to know at all.
When We Wish Our Dad’s Dead and Why?
Not every guy wishes this, but some of us did and do and always will.
I don't have a very good answer and really, despite the question mark, it's not a question, is it?
It's just that I know it's true and thinking back, feeling back, I realize how many fucked-up aspects of myself came from him.
He never hit me, rarely raised his voice, and looking back I can see that every mocking, nasty, cruel remark he ever made was meant to make me better.
A good Christian, patriarchal papa dumping my mother and never satisfied that he was getting enough sex from any woman silly or desperate enough to sleep with him.
A man willing to ruin his child in order to save me.
I often prayed to a God I had stopped believing in, that my dad would just fuckin' die.
He finally did, but it was about 60 years too late to do me any good.
Why do I confess this now, so many years after his death?
Because it's true and because I can.
My old man isn’t here to defend himself — not that I’m sure he’d want to, or that he could. But as an over-sensitive kid my feelings towards him were always ambivalent with a heavy leaning towards fear and dislike.
The way my father spouted grace at big family meals, his King James language always grated on me. So, whata ya mean, god, by “honor” them? What if they’re dunks or insecure or cruel fucked-up asshole-bullies? Isn’t this another of your top down, patriarchal bullshit laws meant to keep us all in line bowing and kissing yer feet and coughing-up our protection money every Sunday?
Yeah, I thought so. Piss off daddy-o, make that “daddy-o’s” plural, piss off the both of you.
Hey Christian Proselytizers, We Think About This Shit Too!
At Christian Pollution and here in Christian Pollution Exclusive we have found that we are most definitely NOT the enemies of Spiritual thinking — only of narrow-minded, Christian Nationalist Idiocy and Proselytizing
Exits and Entrances, not an apology exactly, but...
When an artist friend talking to me about her work suggests that, “There’s always an exit in my work... a place to escape.” I could see what she meant —
In each of her paintings: the small alley, the doorway box, a crease in a landscape offering a way forward, the light moment in the dark or its opposite:
Escape what? I wondered.
Then I thought about myself, why be coy or play stupid —
Escape all of it, of course:
The longing stares of those we love who are disappointed at our falling short of loving them in return... enough.
The hurt, simple or complex, or both —
Heartbreaks un-avoided and those not — always an exit, a corridor to escape the pain we feel and the pain we cause.
And from those hallowed moments, both the moments we recognize and those invisible to us — (“What’d I say... . What? What? What’d I do?”)
Light and darkness, there are always exits.
The Buddhists say we have two doors, the one we come in through (birth) and the one we go out of (death).
Trouble is, maybe it really is that simple.
I mean, what if they’re right?
We dress up in wedding gowns, silk ties, corsages, and French scents — We attend costumes balls, go to work in three-piece suits.
We buy the newest athletic shoes, cell phones, confectionary delights, flat screens, plasma screens, Plasma vials, doggy treats, everything...
...everywhere, all the time...
Fresh flowers for the table, a frozen turkey in the sink, all of it.
We accept, offer, refuse, wish for, ignore, a kiss goodnight —
We frown at that tailgating asshole. We smother our insides with butter and cream and our home’s walls with primary colors, reds too bright to touch, blues too sad to caress, pastels too, and of course, Linen, Sail-Cloth, robin-egg blue.
And we hide in snappy music, or sappy music, marches, waltzes, hip-hop violence, and screeching vocals.
All of this, all of these, all the while knowing, or at least suspecting, that there are only these two doors, one entrance, and one exit.
But stop a second, seriously, STOP.
There is no ‘we’ in all of this.
There is an ‘I’ and there is a ‘you’. You and I have it within ourselves together, maybe, but almost certainly within me and within you to own our entrances and our exits.
Not the first (our births), usually not the last (our deaths), but all of those entrances and exits in between.
Entrances are always lovely, except for when they aren’t.
But for now, let’s look at exits, mine include, (but are hardly limited to, my God I have so many!): But taking just one (category) I have to own multiple divorces. And with each divorce saying goodbye as I exit to a woman once loved maybe still loved, no definitely STILL loved...
...but not in that way anymore and needing this goodbye to cover her and her siblings, her mother, our dog(s), our coffee cups, some of my books (“Just keep ’em or thrown ’em out I don’t care”).
Okay, and here’s another kicker, each divorce means exiting an entire life, leaving all that love, laughter, anger, hurt, resentment, forgiveness, hope, and hopelessness, exiting it all with a “Goodbye.”
This is much like thinking I can even the score after someone slaves to prepare a feast for seven hours (not counting buying the food, cleaning the house, setting the table, picking the music, arranging the flowers — ) a feast that I eat in twenty minutes and exit with a simple, “Thanks, that was great.”
So much loss, so much to try and forget or remember or both. So much to learn and to unlearn as I exit.
“There is always an exit in my work — a place to escape.”
Yes, perhaps for you. But maybe not so much for me. Yes, there are always exits.
But for me it turns out, there aren’t always escapes.
Say Goodbye to Summer, Christian Incel’s
No more sundresses for you
Remember, good devout Christian men you may LOOK at the sexy girls in summertime dresses, appreciating their beauty and having only pure and spiritually healthy thoughts about them — but just a quick reminder: you’re FUCKED for all eternity if a lustful thought should cross your sinful mind b/c Jesus died for you two thousand years ago, for sins which you’d commit two thousand years later after you were born and stuff and reached puberty ... it’s complicated...
Alternatives I looked out at the trees and saw the wind caressing them and decided that nature needn’t be defined solely in terms of big things trying to eat little things and everything trying to fuck things to make more of themselves. The branches, some green and full of light others covered in pink or white blossoms, pouty as lips and not like that, swayed like sexy girls in summertime dresses, being touched and caressed by a perfect lover and every bit as inviting and seductive. So anyway, all I’m trying to say is that looking a little bit longer and closer, if the wind is doing its job with the trees, and you can almost hear the girl’s sighing, and this can make life a bit more worth living.
Yes Christian Know-it-alls, This One’s For You
Dreams of Harmony Going Awry: A consideration of the search for wisdom
A brief reminder of our potential to fail at reaching detachment in our concerns, as a cause for missing-out in achieving wisdom: Do you do this? Once you’ve seen a problem and formulated your understanding of what’s going on, do you then, based on that initial grasp of the event or situation, come up with a plan, an obvious “common sense” solution that you think is the best one? (So far so good.) But if you run into someone who questions your definitions and/or merely disagrees with your solution, do you hear them out and consider their objections, comments, variant considerations, and allow these other ways, these reconsiderations to impact your views? Or do you cling with all your might to your original definitions and fixes, because you are so sure of your rightness that any adjustment, any second/next step, would create a dissonance within you and for you tantamount to feeling “wrong?” And is feeling wrong so distasteful to you that you’d prefer to defend your initial position over actually developing any further, perhaps more helpful understanding? Taking the next step often includes the necessary willingness to change one’s mind in order to gain a deeper, more right understanding. Socrates kept asking questions in response to inadequate, insufficient, incomplete understandings — and in the end it so annoyed people that they killed him. Welcome to asking the stupid and/or willfully ignorant to explain their simple solutions a bit more fully — Wisdom is possible but not if one is so bound by emotions as to be unable to attain detachment in one’s concern.