Do you believe this is the 56th installment of ODDS AND SODS? I say this as an excuse for running out of snappy titles for them. (I promise, I will have one by next time!)
Garry Wills' incisive piece in the New York Review of Books, perfectly titled Contraception’s Con Men, is required reading for anyone who wants to understand the naked propaganda-war that is going on right now:
The bishops’ opposition to contraception is not an argument for a “conscience exemption.” It is a way of imposing Catholic requirements on non-Catholics. This is religious dictatorship, not religious freedom.Good reading, and an impressive 212 comments, also worth your time.
Contraception is not even a religious matter. Nowhere in Scripture or the Creed is it forbidden. Catholic authorities themselves say it is a matter of “natural law,” over which natural reason is the arbiter—and natural reason, even for Catholics, has long rejected the idea that contraception is evil. More of that later; what matters here is that contraception is legal, ordinary, and accepted even by most Catholics. To say that others must accept what Catholics themselves do not is bad enough. To say that President Obama is “trying to destroy the Catholic Church” if he does not accept it is much, much worse.
To disagree with Catholic bishops is called “disrespectful,” an offense against religious freedom. That is why there is a kind of taboo against bringing up Romney’s Mormonism. But if Romney sincerely believed in polygamy on religious grounds, as his grandfather did, he would not even be considered for the presidency—any more than a sincere Christian Scientist, who rejects the use of medicine, would be voted for to handle public health care. Yet a man who believes that contraception is evil is an aberrant from the American norm, like the polygamist or the faith healer.
On History: Tariq Ali and Oliver Stone In Conversation was surprisingly watchable, informative and free of dogma:
Filmmaker Oliver Stone and author and filmmaker Tariq Ali present their thoughts on the politics of history and what they consider to be hidden aspects of American history. Their discussion ranges across several topics, from American involvement against the Russian Revolution to a profile of the labor union, the Industrial Workers of the World. Oliver Stone and Tariq Ali speak at the New York Public Library in New York City.(You can watch it here.)
Media Matters reports: Rush Limbaugh Issues Statement Regarding His 3-Day Misogynistic Attack On Sandra Fluke. Meanwhile, one of Fluke's opportunistic classmates saw her big chance for blogger fame, and decided to pile on. Conservative suck-up Angela Morabito of The College Conservative proudly announces that Fluke "doesn't even speak for all skanks! She only speaks for the skanks who don't want to take responsibility for their choices."
Hm. Is she actually calling herself a skank in that sentence, or is she just a lousy writer? You decide.
William Burroughs, photo from Start With Typewriters.
Upon reading William Burroughs on Led Zeppelin (reprinted from the legendary CRAWDADDY, 1975), the first thing any writer thinks is DAMN, I wish I could write like that guy.
Some of the best bits:
Leaving the concert hall was like getting off a jet plane....
From the viewpoint of magic, no death, no illness, no misfortune, accident, war or riot is accidental. There are no accidents in the world of magic. And will is another word for animate energy. Rock stars are juggling fissionable material that could blow up at any time… “The soccer scores are coming in from the Capital…one must pretend an interest,” drawled the dandified Commandante, safe in the pages of my book; and as another rock star said to me, “YOU sit on your ass writing–I could be torn to pieces by my fans, like Orpheus.”...
I found Jimmy Page equally aware of the risks involved in handling the fissionable material of the mass unconcious.
Jimmy told me that Aleister Crowley’s house has very good vibes for anyone who is relaxed and receptive. At one time the house had also been the scene of a vast chicken swindle indirectly involving George Sanders, the movie actor, who was able to clear himself of any criminal charges. Sanders committed suicide in Barcelona, and we both remembered his farewell note to the world: “I leave you to this sweet cesspool.”...
I told Jimmy he was lucky to have that house with a monster in the front yard. What about the Loch Ness monster? Jimmy Page thinks it exists. I wondered if it could find enough to eat, and thought this unlikely–it’s not the improbability but the upkeep on monsters that worries me. Did Aleister Crowley have opinions on the subject? He apparently had not expressed himself.
We talked about Wilhelm Reich’s orgone accumulator, and I showed him plans for making this device, which were passed along to me by Reich’s daughter. Basically the device is very simple, consisting of iron or steel wool on the inside and organic material on the outside. I think this was highly important discovery. Recently a scientist with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced an “electrical cell” theory of cancer that is almost identical to Reich’s cancer theory put forth 25 years ago. He does not acknowledge any indebtedness to Reich. I showed Jimmy the orgone box I have here, and we agreed that orgone accumulators in pyramid form and/or using magnetized iron could be much more powerful.Yes, it's all like that. Read the whole thing.
Left Side of the Aisle #46 - Virginia kills "Personhood" bill (Lotus - Surviving a Dark Time)
Ayn Rand Worshippers Should Face Facts: Blue States Are the Providers, Red States Are the Parasites (AlterNet)
'Snob' control: Karen Santorum guides husband on gaffe (Politico)
Notorious Nigerian witch-hunter to preach in the US (The Humanist)
March Forth With Hope (March with Hope Foundation)