Marching to be Equal

Dining with Lesbians

And so we went, together, holding hands. Marching for gay rights might sound ordinary to many of you but it’s very special to us, to me. My partner has never, I say never, joined a rally, march or demonstration of any sort. The closest she ever got was dropping me off two blocks away from the site I was going to hold IDAHOT at, and she was very shy about being seen even at that distance.

The rally itself was alright, about 1,000 people turned up.  I loved how one sign said “I am straight.  I support Gay Marriage” (too bad I couldn’t get it clearly on camera).  It was peaceful along the way and the police were nice, too (we had to ask for directions and were politely shown the way by a middle-aged policeman who showed no signs of negativity towards the gay rally).

On the way to…

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Victory for Irreverence

FRANCE-ATTACKS-CHARLIE-HEBDO-MEDIA-FRONTPAGE

The Charlie Hebdo weekly normally has a print run of around 60 000 copies. This week they planned to publish 3 million copies following the brutal slaying of 12 of its staff by religious fundamentalists. Instead, such was the demand, 5 million copies will be distributed.

If these idiots thought they were appeasing their God by wanting people who value free speech to be eliminated, they sure didn’t count on how badly such bigoted ideology would blow up in their faces. Spectacularly so. Indeed, instead of 60 000 people having access to some irreverence, now 5 million and certainly more will be laughing their heads off to the silliness of religious narrow-mindedness and intolerance.

Fundamentalists of all stripes need to know that those who wish to free their minds from mental slavery will not be swayed by random shootings, bombing of buildings, suicide bombings using ten-year old girls, kidnapping of young women and children, hacking to death of villagers, imprisoning and whipping of atheist bloggers, issuing of fatwas, killing pro-abortion doctors, demonstrating against and demonizing homosexuality, destruction of ancient monuments, banning women from driving, forbidding snowmen from being built, removing “erotic” cosmetics from shelves, beheading of journalists, banning of medication, building of creationist museums and subjecting young minds to creationist rubbish in schools, and the delusional rants of clerics, priests and holy men.

The list of atrocities, depravity and irrationality perpetrated in the name of religious and other ideology is far too numerous to mention. What is more abundant however, is the sheer will to carry on the fight against this evil by far too many people – people who recognize that the desire for freedom is much stronger than the desire for servitude to Gods and Devils.

Mankind will triumph, because we are more powerful than Gods and Devils. We created them after all.

Fuck all prophets

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I remember writing something about the conviction and imprisonment of a Pakistani women around two years ago for blasphemy. This disgraceful act of discrimination is not only utterly ridiculous, but is a crime in itself, perpetrated by religious bigots.

Asia Bibi’s appeal against the death sentence has been rejected by the Lahore High Court. You can bet any number of stinking prophets, that the Pakistani judicial system is clearly not impartial, but influenced by the insane ideology of the clerical overlords.

This is an outrage and must be condemned by every rational, thinking person in the world. Pakistan is not the sole violator of human rights in the religious domain; there are many other countries most notably in the Middle East and Africa which also amazingly still treat religious beliefs with more deference than they do human rights.

This just has to stop, and all the Peoples of the world need to do more to bring down the hegemony of religious fundamentalists, and the clergy.

Ideas do not have rights, only people do. Thus religious beliefs do not deserve special consideration; absolutely no ideology does. Blasphemy is therefore the invention of some cowardly bastard, hell-bent on protecting and defending the indefensible.

Photo Credit: The Skeptics Guide To The Universe.

On the not-worth-talking-about scale

A 5.5 magnitude earthquake struck South Africa today around lunch time. Originating in Orkney in the North West Province, the tremors were felt in large parts of the country and even in neighbouring Botswana and Mozambique.

I felt it in my office while on a conference call and just looked up at the ceiling. I’ll bet many others looked up at the ceiling too. Probably a normal reaction, that. It’s being reported as one of the biggest to hit South Africa. Seems there wasn’t too much damage, except for the unlucky guy who died after a wall apparently collapsed on him.

Up here on the Reef, we live directly above working mines and tremors from mining activity is quite normal. Sometimes in the dead of night, I can swear I hear the locomotives running deep underground in the mine tunnels. But this was a real quake, albeit not much worth talking about when compared to the recent disaster in China.

In other not worth talking about news, I discovered today that there’s a random dude from South Africa who’s following my blog. What’s not worth talking about though is his blog which spews the kind of bigotry I rant about here on my own blog. Seems he’s a homophobic, patriarchal, anti-feminist, religious ANC supporter.

Not sure I want his kind following my blog. Get thee gone bigot.

And finally, it’s being reported that the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) is losing its relevancy. That to me is not entirely correct. Presided over by Angie Motshekga, this woeful organization lost its relevancy a long time ago. They were merely going through the motions of being constituted, whereas all they were doing was supporting the puerile ambitions of power-hungry ANC men, and furthering the patriarchal agenda.

It is widely said that Motshekga single-handedly destroyed South Africa’s education system. Perhaps a bit of an exaggeration, but she most certainly played a huge role in dumbing it down, and still does. And her feats of maladministration in the Education Ministry are now legendary.

The cremation of the ANCWL will not come soon enough, and hopefully we won’t have to suffer the presence of Angie in Education much longer too.

Nice guys these Quakers

Featured

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Yesterday I came across an article in a local online newspaper about how a group of Quakers are helping the LGBTQ community flee Uganda’s absurd and outrageous Anti-Homosexuality Act. What’s more, I got to learn a lot about the Quaker community, otherwise known as the Religious Society of Friends (didn’t know that either).

Like the Amish community, Quakers are fervently religious and believe very strongly in non-violence. However whereas The Amish are very conservative and don’t adapt to change, Quakers are pretty liberal and embrace modern technology. Another thing, Quakers don’t have priests or clergymen and eschew religious symbolism, and for that alone this atheist is warming up to them.

But here’s why I think they’re simply awesome: Quakers are involving themselves in a dangerous activity by helping people escape persecution. And they’ve done it before; many times.

Quakers denounced slavery as early as the 1670’s in Barbados. Later they would play a fundamental role in abolishing slavery in the United States. They were also involved in setting up the Underground Railroad in the USA which helped runaway slaves.

It was therefore fitting that the group based in Olympia, Washington, assisting people escape the bigotry and persecution as a result of the draconian law passed by the Ugandan government, decided to call themselves Friends New Underground Railroad (FNUR).

However not everyone likes what they’re doing; even right’s activists and NGO’s within the LGBTQ community have their reservations, but I think it’s just remarkable.

Meanwhile Ugandan activists, and right’s organizations like Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) who incidentally are critical of what FNUR are doing, are petitioning the courts to overturn the anti-gay law. I sincerely hope they’re succesful. The world does not need legislated hatred.

Lout of Africa 2

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It didn’t take very long for Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe to jump on the Museveni gay-bashing bandwagon.

It now seems likely that he’ll follow suit by instituting a witchhunt against homosexuality in Zimbabwe that will rival, if not outdo the despicable new legislation enacted by Museveni in Uganda. And how’s this statement for gross irony?

It’s a terrible world we are in, a terrible world where people want to do things that they feel will enhance their own interests.

Oh yes, you baboon’s ass, it is indeed a terrible world we live in; one darkened by bigots and tyrants such as you and Museveni.

Back In Uganda

Meanwhile the Ugandan Anglican Archbishop Stanley Ntagali has threatened the mother church in England with breaking away if they exert any pressure on Uganda to overturn the recent anti-homosexual laws.

This homophobic bible-bashing cretin believes that the Anglican mother church should respect the Ugandan’s views on homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Respect? Bigoted clergymen don’t deserve respect; they deserve nothing but derision.

In fact, I sincerely hope that the Anglican mother church boots these fucktards out.

Heatmaps to give a f@@k about

Fuck you!

A common enough phrase. But would you care how often it was being said? Would you actually keep count?

Seems a company called Vertaline did just that. They tracked tweets from 100’s of locations across the USA containing the phrase “fuck you,” over a 10-day period in July this year, and created a heatmap that recorded its distribution.

And the results?

New York City and Los Angeles take a bow. It seems you do indeed give a fuck about the usage of flowery language.

However this doesn’t mean shit according to the article from where I got this crap, because the heat signatures correlate with high population densities in those areas, and hence does not make for a very scientific evaluation.

Now after reading this, I wondered how this use of heatmaps could be put to use right here in South Africa. Since we’re all pretty much fucked under the current government, I wondered if Vertaline could find another way to use heatmaps that would amuse us, and keep us busy until our turn comes to bend over.

What if they could creat heatmaps that measured levels of bigotry and sophistry. We could then have hours of fun as we uncover the gatherings off our politicians, and posh meeting venues they favour. No points for figuring out which political party is raising the most “heat” – we all know don’t we; we’re just curious about how much more than the others. Naturally, Parliament would have to be excluded; we all know what a hothouse of “fuck the people,”  that place is.

Would you be interested in my fairly brilliant idea? Do you actually give a fuck?

Red Bull gives you… “wingnuts”

Red Bull GmbH

Image via Wikipedia

They’re at it again. Will these wingnuts never learn that the parochial views of a minority of the population cannot be used to hold the majority to ransom?

In the most recent in a long list of attacks on the freedom of speech, Red Bull has been forced to pull an advert from television which supposedly mocks their faith. In a population in excess of 20 million adults, less than 1000 complaints seemed to do the trick. Go figure!

Errol Naidoo, director of the Family Policy Institute (otherwise known as the Self-appointed Guardians of Morality), offered up a typical response* from that side of the fence:

The advert is meant to offend as it depicts the Jesus character in the cartoon using the name of Jesus as a curse word

Red Bull wouldn’t dream of mocking religious figures of other religions. Christianity and Jesus in particular are singled out for mockery by secular humanists and other anti-Christian bigots

FPI is launching a nationwide boycott of Red Bull products in response to this blasphemous attack on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Oh please Errol, fly off that high horse of yours, drink some Red Bull and learn to laugh. It’s called satire.The advert was designed to sell a product, not mock your religion. Your religion does a bang-up job of attracting derision all by itself; Red Bull couldn’t hope to compete with that.

Every time these bigots try to draw attention to their imagined plight by forcing banning and censorship, they actually wind up creating more publicity for that which they attack. Here is the advert which has been uploaded to YouTube, for the more broad-minded people out there:

* Another response from Chantell in the comments column of the article: “I have told many people that did not even see the ad about the mockery, they immediatly said they wont buy red bull again!” Sound familiar? Yes, that’s typically what the religious do – believe what they’re told.

The Vampire Diaries does not suck after all…

Aside

I started buying these DVD box sets a while ago. Initially, because of my utter delight with the antics of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, on the BBC production Top Gear, I bought everything I could find related to that series.

At the same time, I started collecting fascinating documentaries such as David Attenborough’s Life series and The Incredible Human Journey and British Comedy box sets such as Fawlty Towers, among other BBC productions. Then one day about a two months ago, I strayed into the TV drama section of my favorite DVD store, and came across Dexter, Season 1.

About the only thing I can bear to watch on television these days is sport, normally just football, rugby and the occasional game of cricket; recently I have been somewhat put off the game of  cricket with the introduction of that atrocious format of the game known as 20-20. I catch my movies on DVD, or in the cinema when first released, when I can summon up the will to share an auditorium with juvenile popcorn-mascerating delinquents.

I don’t watch drama series on television; I have over the years lost the necessary patience and discipline required to stick to a weekly viewing schedule. I did try with Prison Break, but I failed, and that was to my mind the most compelling television I had ever watched, until I found Dexter. I had heard the series being mentioned on a local radio station, and was intrigued, so that made the decision to buy, a little easier; and boy, am I glad I did.

The writers and producers of this series are pure genius; especially the writers. Visual entertainment allows us to escape our invariably dull real lives; it allows us to relate to the characters on-screen and  fantasize for a little while. In this particular case, Dexter, the anti-hero, even allows one to seriously re-examine the suffocating limits of morality; the extremist black and white limits set by religious bigotry can now be challenged. Dexter demonstrates that bad, can be good! I readily admit to fantacizing about applying the gory disposal techniques demonstrated by Dexter, to certain deceitful, arrogant and corrupt members of our own government, here in South Africa.

Dexter, Season 1 went by all too quickly; a testament to how enthralled I was. Recently I found myself looking for Season 2, but could not find it; I did find Season 3, which leaves me delighted in anticipation. However, not finding Season 2, on the shelves, I came across The Vampire Diaries Season 1 and made a rash decision to purchase it; being swayed by the recent public fascination with Vampire movies.

At this point, I need to make it quite clear that I’m a Skeptic and proudly consider myself a member of the community of critical thinkers; which means that I not only have no interest in the occult or supernatural, I find beliefs in them to be rather disturbing. And I did not fail to notice the plethora of television drama series concerned with the supernatural, which fills the shelves of my DVD retailer. It’s actually quite concerting that the supernatural is such a popular theme.

But that just leaves me to explain why I chose to buy The Vampire Diaries. Well, it’s simple. I confess to a secret desire to live forever; and sucking on pretty girl’s necks for a lifetime does seem to be a particuarly pleasurable way to live through eternity. Off course, my aversion to direct sunshine, and the fact that blood-sucking reminds me of politicians, are other reasons.

Anyway, to continue my tale of entertainment seduction; I watched the first episode of The Vampire Diaries a few weeks ago and was utterly disappointed. My first impression was that it was made specifically for love-struck teenagers. The mushy romance permeating through the first episode left me feeling nauseated. I switched off, and threw the DVD box into a cupboard in disgust.

However, a few days ago I happened to be downloading some new software I purchased from Cyberlink, and did not have anything to do, what with my not-so-broad, broadband link informing me that the download would take all off 7 hours. With my internet connection being commandeered for that interminable duration, I turned to my DVD collection. Having already watched Dexter Season 1 and everything else, I turned to the discarded Vampire Diaries in utter desperation.

To cut a tedious story short, I was pleasantly surprised, as Episode 2 seemed to develop beyond my expectations, and so did the following Episodes. The mushy romance is still there, but the introduction of witches and more Vampires has sparked a new interest for me; especially the witches as I have a special empathy for those persecuted by religious bigots.

Anyway, there’s no hope for me now; I’m hooked on The Vampire Diaries too…