Addiction

Many of you are aware of what the Christian addicts who’ve taken over the Texas board of education have done. Blinded by their addictions, prejudices and other views, they’ve decided to revise history to make it more palatable for them by, among other things, getting rid of Jefferson since he didn’t accept that whole divinity of Jesus thing and he wrote that there is a wall of separation between church and state (which annoys them so much they eliminated the term ‘separation of church and state’ altogether), making sure students don’t learn that our constitution prevents the government from favoring one religion over others, and getting rid of or glossing over all that awful, non-white stuff like hip-hop music, the Civil Rights movement and the fact that there were Tejanos who also died fighting for texas at the Alamo. There’s a whole lot of more crazy shit they’ve changed, but I thought if they’re REALLY going to go off the rails, why not go all the way, like this?

Yes, Abraham Lincoln as a vampire hunter. What a fantastic idea! Tell me you wouldn’t have payed more attention in class if this was the history lesson. Ha! What’s great is it seems that this work of fiction actually is more plausible than the fiction Texas is serving as history. You’d have to be blind to ignore the influence of hip-hop, think McCarthyism had value or not wonder why there’s next to no mention of that Civil Rights thing as well as how that makes so many other things not make sense, but there doesn’t seem to be the same issues in Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. Beard? Hid a scar from fighting vampires. Long jacket? Hid his ax used for decapitating vampires (which everyone knows you need to decapitate them or else they might come back). But of course the Texas Christian addicts can’t think rationally enough to make their revisions make sense because they’re high on Jesus.

Now I often refer to religious belief as a vice, or more specifically an addictive vice comparable to drugs and alcohol. As someone who likes his own vices, I’ll never seek to deny others theirs (despite the fear mongering of the religious, very few atheists actively seek to deny religious freedom), but I do demand that ALL vices be indulged in responsibly. For instance, I’m not going to drive or do anything which could put myself or others at risk while inebriated, and I would hope that others would do the same, but the religious rarely do. They block essential research, prevent the viewing or sales of certain things, deny some Americans equality and perform many, many more terrible acts while under the influence of their religious beliefs. Imo, it’s no different than this clown who, high on heroin, ran naked down a highway jumping on cars saying he was both the Christian god and devil. The money quote from that story was this:

Peterson said the man, “who was acting like he was under the influence of a narcotic,” ran toward an officer and ignored commands to stop, so he was shot with the Taser.

Wouldn’t it be nice if those who threaten others with their addictions could be tasered when they put others at risk? The entire Board of Education in Texas would need a tasering, but unfortunately in this country, religion is the one vice which everyone is allowed to indulge in with no thought to the potential harm for others which may come from your inebriated actions. There even had to be a trial for the Neumanns who killed their child while under the influence, and who I feel didn’t get what they fully deserved as punishment. We’re still a long way away from even the point at where drunks were treated in the Andy Griffith Show, comically mocked and held in a cell until they slept it off.

This morning though, I found that the US is not alone in allowing the religious special treatment for their indulgences. A man just won an apology for having to remove his hood. From where? The British unemployment centre. Why? Because he’s a Jedi, or I should say he follows the Jedi religion. Fantastic! I can’t wait for the day when someone invents the first lightsaber, because you know they’re going to demand the right to carry one as a religious right.

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12 Responses to “Addiction”

  1. Since most publishing is done with digital files these days, I'm hoping that publishers will have at least two versions of their textbooks available: the Texas version, and one for the rest of us. If noit won't be long before we'll see English-only signs welcoming us to Jesusistan.

  2. I must admit that the day they invent the lightsaber is the day I convert to Jediism. But I'm pretty sure real Jedi don't have a problem doffing their hoods in public – if anonymity's the goal, surely a flick of the wrist and a "these are not the droids you're looking for" fits the bill better than a hoody?

  3. Have you seen this Jon Stewart clip? It's funny, sad, maddening and right on point.

  4. I posted a story not too long ago about a guy who was refused service in what I think is you folks' version of Walmart because he wouldn't remove his hood, yet the Sikhs and Muslims could wear their kits, so at least now your country is becoming consistent. Good for you!

    Honestly, if any religion actually had mind control, well, I think that would be it for the rest of them, no?

  5. Yup, in the strong central government vs state's rights battle, this one goes to strong central government.

    In lieu of the Feds stepping in and putting an end to this nonsense, perhaps a group of states who aren't completely fucked up could form a purchasing bloc to counter Texas' influence on publishers.

  6. It's astounding how many atheists have not actually bothered to read about the new Texas standards. Although I don't approve of some of those changes, in the aggregate they're nowhere near as dire as the Left-wing Blogosphere would have people believe. Here are a few points that you've gotten wrong:

    (1) Jefferson is dropped NOT from standards on American History but from courses in World History, specifically the Enlightenment. The motivation was clearly religious, but it could be argued quite reasonably by even a longtime atheist like me that ol' Tom was not a major Enlightenment thinker. Of course, substituting John Calvin is ridiculous, but he was considered a reformer and a Humanist in his day — and the Enlightenment may not have happened at all had not Calvin rebelled against the power of the Catholic Church. He's a far more important figure in World History than Jefferson is.

    (2) Teaching standards are ultimately phrased in positives like "Students will learn such-and-such." Good teachers often go beyond the bare bones in their classrooms, and textbooks provide supplementary facts and activities. So while it's disgusting that kids are no longer required to learn about "separation" or the implicit meaning of the First Amendment's "Free Exercise" clause, you're incorrect to assume that those details will be forbidden.

    (3) The board made the choice not to include Hip-hop as a significant cultural movement. Good for them. I hope they also didn't include stock car racing and Star Wars movies.

    (4) Why mention specifically that Tejanos fought at the Alamo? Should a list of ethnic backgrounds be provided for all those who fought on the U.S. side in the Mexican-American War? By the way: The good Americans battling the Mexicans at the Mission were doing so partially because the Mexican Constitution had forbidden slavery while American settlers wanted to import that institution into the territory. Also, American settlers in Texas had taken a solemn oath to convert to Catholicism as a condition of their being granted land. They lied, and got pissed off when they got caught. Those two facts, showing the nasty motivation and the duplicity of the Texas "freedom"-fighters ARE covered in Texas history courses. (At least they were about eight years ago, when I edited a textbook for 4th-graders.)

    So, as a skeptic, I'd like to remind a really smart fellow skeptic to stay skeptical. Of everything!

    The rest of this post is great.

  7. I find it astounding that someone attempting to roast someone else about not bothering to read would make statements that show they themselves didn't read what they're complaining about. I never said students will be forbidden to learn what these clowns are voting out of their social studies requirements. What's also astounding is to claim I should stay skeptical while you're asserting that teachers will still teach topics not covered in the textbooks and will provide the missing material as supplements. Yeah, I'm sure that'll happen VERY often. I take it you found your local moonshiner finally, because you've gotta be smoking or drinking some serious shit to argue that.

    (1) Jefferson is being dropped as part of Enlightenment thinking influencing revolutions, in which case Jefferson was a major player as he was involved with the French (of course they've always ignored Paine, but that's because he wrote that nasty book about the OT) and I believe he authored an important declaration concerning a revolution. They're substituting Calvin and Aquinas, btw.

    (2) As stated above, you're high as a kite

    (3) Like it or not (and I don't), hip-hop and rap are a significant cultural influence.

    (4) The Tejanos, from what I understand, was the largest non-white group there and I think significant to mention to show that it wasn't just whitey's going to Mexico and fighting to steal a big piece of it, but that there were locals who wanted it, too. As for the ugly truth of all those fighting for Texas and why they were, yeah, that should all be in the books along with how we gave blankets laced with smallpox to Indian tribes. I'm not for rose coloring our history nor making it all rainbowlicious. I just want the facts in there and I don't want anyone taking facts out because they don't like the facts. That's not education, that's proselytizing.

    Oh, and the standards are for social studies classes, apparently, and not history. We're both wrong there.

  8. It's impossible to give all the facts in history, because there are so many. States always select, and their choices clearly have to do with political biases. For years, the left has dominated, and few have complained when, for instance, Cesar Chavez got as much textbook space in the early grades as George Washington did (and far more than Jefferson). And, as you point out, neither the left nor the right deigns to require teaching about Thomas Paine, who was possibly the single individual most responsible for making the American Revolution happen. What about George Mason, essentially the father of the Bill of Rights? And Gouverneur Morris, the main writer of the Constitution? On the other hand, far too much time is spent on the bogus, but action-packed, story of Paul Revere and the entirely fictitious tale of Molly Pitcher (because girls need heroes, too!).

    Anyway… (1) Jefferson was not a major Enlightenment thinker no matter how you cut it. He wrote the Declaration of Independence, based, to a large extent, on previous documents (one of which was by Mason); there's not an idea in the Declaration that's original to him. He took no part in the French Revolution, but did support it — when it was convenient for his political goals. Whether you and I like it or not, both Calvin and Aquinas are far more important to World History. To omit them is to be guilty of educational bias, the very thing you're arguing against.

    (2) Teachers, do, in fact, use supplementary materials. I've spent almost twenty years writing those kinds of passages, and have received many paychecks. Publishers don't like to waste their money, so if those features were not being used by at least some educators, they wouldn't be included in textbooks. And, believe it or not, I've had a great deal of freedom in choosing the kinds of information I include. So unless the textbooks are actually going to be written or censored by idiot Texans, I wouldn't worry too much.

    (3) I don't see how hip-hop is a significant cultural movement. Perhaps our disagreement is in the definition of significant, but can you point to ways in which hip-hop has had a lasting influence on American society?

    (4) There were fewer than 10 Tejanos at the Alamo. There were 32(!) guys from Tennessee and 11 from Ireland (of all places). There were also a number of English, Germans, and Scotsmen fighting there, alongside a Black freedmen and a Dane. What's the point of singling out the Tejanos? The Alamo was multi-cultural.

    Tejanos did take part in the Texas war for independence (and I'm guessing that's taught). Here's a pretty good short article about the Alamo. This site has a list of the Alamo's "defenders."

    Of course, the whole Mexican war on the American side was about a land-grab anyway, so it probably shouldn't be celebrated as a great event in the history of freedom. But that's a subject for a different post.

  9. Fess up, this all amounts to tremendous potential work for you writing both whackaloon crap for textbooks as well as supplements to counteract the textbooks, doesn't it? Ends justify the means, eh?

    (1) I didn't say Jefferson was a major Enlightenment thinker and very clever to try and reframe this as an argument over Enlightenment thinkers. No, Jefferson's ideas weren't that original but neither were any of the Founders. They drew upon the thinkers that came before them like Locke and Hobbes and if asked, they'd probably echo Newton's statement of seeing further because of standing upon the shoulders of giants. I think we can both agree that who should be mentioned is Paine, or at least his Rights of Man.

    (2) I had two public school teacher ever provide supplementary material in public school, and I went to pretty decent public schools. Everything came from textbooks. The two radicals? An AP history teacher and a German teacher who brought in German rock magazines, so I guess we can go back and forth on anecdotal evidence, huh?

    (3) The context is "musical genres that have been popular over time", and hip-hop has been one of the biggest influences on modern, popular music over the last 30 years and has literally given voice to an entire segment of American youths and has branched beyond that so excluding references to it is ridiculous. (Btw, I hate you for making me defend hip-hop of all fucking things)

    (4) Is there a minimum number of non-whites needed who participated in major historical events before we can mention them?

  10. Fess up, this all amounts to tremendous potential work for you writing both whackaloon crap for textbooks as well as supplements to counteract the textbooks, doesn't it? Ends justify the means, eh?

    Well, I certainly am hoping that there are some new versions of textbooks. I can use the cash. But, seriously, I think you know me well enough to know that I'd turn down any work that forced me to write "whackaloon crap." I do look forward, though, to sneaking in some differerent perspectives if I'm confronted with any of that garbage.

    There's no point in our going back and forth about Jefferson & the Enlightenment, or hip-hop, or even the Tejanos at the Alamo. I think we essentially agree. But I will respond to your point (2). Many times, the supplementary features for teachers are written after the student edition has been locked in by a publisher. In the last history project that I worked on (managing other writers and editing), there were literally dozens of errors in the kids' versions we received (for instance: wrong dates, misspelled names, conclusions that didn't take all the facts into account, and lots of garbled reasoning.) Besides adding extra material, my team used the sidebars and bottom-trough boxes to correct — sometimes subtly, sometimes not — erroneous information or flawed syntheses. Whether or not the classroom teachers actually used that material, I have no clue. But it was available in their final printed version; as far as I know, the publisher didn't censor any of it.

    It's hard for me to worry too much about whether or not hip-hop is included in the curriculum when a map showing ancient Greece is labeled "Egypt in the Time of the Pharaohs."

  11. If people are going to have an addiction, might as well have a virtuous one. Why can't people just get Addicted To Success!? :)

  12. Why don't they let the historians write the history books, and let the dentists drill teeth? Why are elected officials with no qualifications in the specific subject, or in the broader educational sense, allowed to tamper with what children learn?

    And as far as hip-hop goes, if the kids don't already know what influence hip hop has in their lives already, ain't no book going to enlighten them. Tell them about classical music, jazz and ragtime. Hip-hop they already know.

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