Archive for March, 2009

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I Am Artist, Hear Me Congratulate Self!

March 25, 2009

I was reading up on RaceFail09 earlier today, and I started following links and Google hits and somehow it got me to Alas, a Blog, which got me to Aaru Tuesday, and somewhere along the way I found the Bechdel Rule and the Miller Test and a great rant decrying the fact that a straight white guy is seen as the default hero in our fiction. It was one of those pieces where it doesn’t say things you haven’t heard or don’t already know, but says it in a way that forces me to acknowledge the truth in a way I hadn’t before.

And I realized that my book, which I have so carefully constructed for the better part of a year, fails on the basic level of not being about a straight white guy who swoops in to save the queers from the problems they can’t solve for themselves. For extra bonus points, I made the murderous bigotry merely the backdrop for my hero’s emotional journey, and his sidekicks facilitators for the same.

And furthermore, I realized that this manuscript, as currently constructed cannot be saved. But that’s okay, because I was already dreaming of the sequel, and I’ve now decided to toss Disposable Heroes and move straight to what was origonally the followup effort.

I don’t want to go into too much detail about the new idea, because that would easily spawn 10 pages of self-indugent shit, but I will say that it is much better for allowing the plot and action to flow naturally from the character relations, and that I’ve basically given up trying to pretend that my favorate characters are not in some way self-insertions.

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Christianity vs. Paganism: Which is Better?

March 5, 2009

I want to state up front that I am an atheist of the kind that feels comfortable affirmatively stating that there is no god. I do not believe in spirits, souls, angels, demons, or any of that crap. Same deal with magic and “magick,” which contrary to popular opinion in some circles is not made more potent or impressive by the addition of a “k” at the end. Any sentence relating to the healing powers of crystals makes me skip right over the article.

But if I had to choose a religion, and we’re talking gun-t0-the-head pressure here,  my two real options would be Christianity or Paganism. The first is a viable option because Christianity has been drilled into my head since I was an infant, so it’s a more comfortable set of meaningless superstitions for me to adhere to than say, Judaism or Hindu. And the second is an option because, as religious symbols go, it doesn’t get much more bitchin’ than a pentagram. 

Christianity, as best I understand it, can be generally summarized as:

There is a god. He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent. He created the Universe and everything in it, for a purpose that he refuses to explain. Perhaps doing so would spoil the surprise. This god, in his omnibenevolence, decided to create a race of people who rape and murder each other on a regular basis. He does not tell us why he allows this to continue, but assures us that it is all part of his plan and he loves all of us. Even the murderous rapists. Or something.  This god sent his son, who was also himself, but not really, down to earth to become a political dissident and get executed by the Roman Empire, and this somehow sets the stage for our redemption. This redemption is needed, because any failure to request it through the proper channel (accepting Jesus Christ as your lord and savior) is grounds for being sentenced to an eternity of torment by the omnibonevolent and infinitely forgiving god who rules over us.  A desire to stand and be judged on our own merits and our own faults, without the thumb of Jesus on the scale is, depending on who in the faith you ask, misguided, foolhardy, arrogant, brave, or exactly what is required. In some denominations, people born before Jesus’ arrival are SOL, as are people born in parts of the world where Christianity does not have enough freedom of operation to explain the contract to everyone involved. In other denominations, it doesn’t really matter one way or the other, because Heaven’s guest list is already finalized and we’re all living out a meaningless farce. And common among many, many denominations is the implicit understanding that Thou Shalt Not Kill does not apply to your behavior if your government issues you a waiver. 

Paganism, as best I understand it, can be generally summarized as:

Nature is a powerful force that shapes our world. Sometimes nature is friendly, sometimes nature is cruel. We need nature, but nature does not need us. For these reasons and more, we must respect nature, and afford it a place of honor and worship. It is acceptable and encouraged to value our own lives and joy, but we must never assign a human life an infinitely higher value than any other life, as all living things are holy. There are many variations and subbranches of modern paganism, but in general, they tend to agree with the above statements.

 

Maybe I’m mistaken about the positions of these two religions, and if I am, feel free to correct me. But as far as I can tell, Pagans beat the snot out of Christians as far as internal consistency and correlation to observable reality is concerned. So victory: Pagans! It’s not even close.