Saturday, February 18, 2012

Purple Cabbage is [chat]y

Purple Cabbage is like a freaky alien cocoon.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Transvaginal Ultrasound: Rape?

Virginia is on the verge of passing a bill that would require a woman seeking an abortion to undergo a state-required transvaginal ultrasound. For some reason I do not understand some people want to call this state-sanctioned rape. I think the term “rape” is inapplicable to this situation. We can say the bill is repulsive. We can say it violates a woman’s privacy. But “rape” isn’t a word that applies to the situation, given Virginia’s definition of rape:

§ 18.2-61. Rape.
A. If any person has sexual intercourse with a complaining witness, whether or not his or her spouse, or causes a complaining witness, whether or not his or her spouse, to engage in sexual intercourse with any other person and such act is accomplished (i) against the complaining witness's will, by force, threat or intimidation of or against the complaining witness or another person; or (ii) through the use of the complaining witness's mental incapacity or physical helplessness; or (iii) with a child under age 13 as the victim, he or she shall be guilty of rape.

Here’s my argument: Rape is non-consensual sexual intercourse. The insertion of an ultrasound probe into a vagina is not sexual intercourse. Therefore, etc.

Some people take issue with my argument. They want to insist the bill would result in women being raped by the state. To explain why I think their position is foolish, I shall utilize this handy-dandy chart:

Object:ProbeProbe
Action:InsertionInsertion
Sex Organ:VaginaVagina
Consent?NoYes
Label:State-Sanctioned RapeTransvaginal ultrasound
Sex Act?--


My argument lives in that last row. Either:

1) All transvaginal ultrasounds are sex acts.
2) The lack of consent renders an act to be sex.

Both of these options are fucked up.

My guess is that most of my interlocutors would go with option two. But if the insertion of a probe for a medical procedure is not sex, then how does that change when the medical procedure is not consensual? They would have to say that force causes the act to be sex; the label “sex” applies when an act is forced on an individual. But there are plenty of actions imposed upon individuals that are not considered to be sex despite the presence of force. If the state forces you to pay a speeding fine that is not “rape”.

Maybe the issue is that genitals are involved. It’s not the force; it’s the insertion of a probe into a vagina. But that would seem to favor option one: All transvaginal ultrasounds are sex acts. Yet I doubt that a woman would think her partner reasonable if he accused her of infidelity after visiting her gynecologist. I’m pretty sure that we don’t want to consider any insertion of anything into a vagina to be sex.

So why are some calling this "rape"? Fuck if I know.

I understand that we’re against this bill. I understand that it abuses women, that it violates their privacy. But we don’t gain anything by calling this “rape”; the invocation of the term is not beneficial to our cause. We can find fault with the bill and fight against it without calling it “rape”.

Why do we need to invoke that term?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Oklahoma Personhood Act: Miscarriage is Manslaughter

If you are in favor of the Oklahoma Personhood Act, then you are an unreflective, unthinking moron.

Given the nature of ethical or moral claims, one can allow for some divergence between different person’s beliefs. If you, like Kant, believe it is always wrong to lie, and I maintain that there are some situations within which lying is ethically permissible, then we can discuss our contending ethical positions in a thoughtful, rational manner. After some argument, we’ll find that the differences in our ethical positions ultimately result from our differing primary assumptions about reality. Once we realize this, we can respectfully agree to disagree, each person maintaining their own self-consistent system.

But when it comes to legality, we leave the realm of personal conviction and enter into the social, legal, aspect of life. We’re no longer pleasantly philosophizing over inconsequential self-conceptions of what shall or shan’t be considered “naughty”, but rather find ourselves creating the rulesets by which persons can or cannot be sent to prison.

This is why the Oklahoma Personhood Act is immensely stupid. By mistaking a moral / ethical argument for a legal argument, the shitheads who think that zygotes look really cute in onesies completely blind themselves to the legal consequences of their idiotic position. They want abortion to be illegal, and they don’t care much for contraception. But instead of dealing with these particular issues, they cast aside nuance and specificity in favor of the “idea” that if they can get zygotes the legal status of persons, then everything will just take care of itself: If an embryo is a person, then abortion kills a person, and so abortion is murder. Take that Roe V. Wade!

It’s cute an all, but perhaps the dipshits ought to consider these realities:

1) If a zygote is a person, then a miscarriage is involuntary manslaughter.
In a miscarriage, the fetus ceases to perform the acts of a fetus and, so, “dies”. If a fetus is a person, then a miscarriage results in the death of a person. If you support the Oklahoma Personhood Act, then you support the idea that a woman who has a miscarriage ought to be charged with involuntary manslaughter, since she involuntarily manslaughtered a person, in your feeble little mind.

2) If a zygote is a person, then in vitro fertilization is mass murder.
In vitro fertilization costs a lot of money. Because of this, doctors usually implant more than one fertilized egg in a woman’s uterus, in order to increase the likelihood of a pregnancy. Let’s say that a doctor implants five fertilized eggs in a uterus. In the best case, four of those “persons” will die. Who goes to jail for those deaths? Do we punish the woman, the doctor? Is the sperm donor an accomplice?

3) If a zygote is a person, then IUD means intrauterine DEATH.
This one is tricky, since we apparently don’t know how IUDs work. But here’s the idea: If an IUD works by irritating the walls of the uterus so that a fertilized egg cannot implant, then an IUD kills a person. Instead of growing within the uterus, the person ends up being flushed down the pisser. Now, I’m pretty sure that if you flushed a five year old down the toilet that’d be murder. Therefore, etc.


These three examples capture the general concept that a non-retard will grasp less than two minutes after reading the Oklahoma Personhood Act. If a fertilized egg has the legal status of a “person”, then we’re cast into a legal chaos wherein miscarriage, in vitro fertilization, contraception, and being a sexually active woman are basically all tantamount to murder.

Of course, the idiots over at personhoodkansas.com would categorize the above as all “scare tactics”. According to their F.A.Q., nothing that I have said is true, and I’m just a big foolish meany-head who hates Jesus and human life.

But they’re liars. They have to lie. Because when you’re a fetus fetishizing fuck, the only way to get people to listen, and the only way to make legal progress for your antiquated positions, is to lie about them.

The first lie, of course, being that this is a person:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Anna Howard Shaw Day

Happy Anna Howard Shaw Day, everyone!

Mormonism: Your Own Universe

Over the past few weeks I’ve talked with some delightful Mormon missionaries about their theological system. During our first meeting I asked how Mormons can get their own planet after they die. The Mormons replied that the story takes a while to tell, so they’d have to come back later to explain it. Last Friday was the day of explanation. Having learned how to get my own universe, I herein pass on the information I learned regarding…

WHAT MORMONS ACTUALLY BELIEVE!

or

Jesus Has His Own Planet, And You Can, Too!

Once upon a time, Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father were floating around with their flock of spirit-babies. Heavenly Father (hereafter referred to as ‘God’) decided that He wanted to enable His spirit-babies to become more like Him, but this could not happen while floating around. So, He devised a plan and presented the plan at the Celestial Counsel.

At the Counsel, God presented His plan for how to enable the spirit-babies to become Gods. Jesus would create a planet (earth) upon which the spirit-babies could be embodied and prepare for their future as Gods. Satan, Jesus’ brother, presented an alternate plan whereby every spirit-baby would be embodied with full, certain knowledge and so bypass the need for trials or growth. The two plans were put to a vote. 1/3 of the attendees voted for Satan’s plan while 2/3 voted for God’s plan. When Satan lost the vote he became pissed off and he and his 1/3 were cast out of the Counsel, forever doomed to be pissed off.

Having won the vote, Jesus created the Earth and placed upon it Adam and Eve, who went on to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. After they ate from this tree, God placed cherubim, with a flaming sword, in the Garden of Eden, which was in Missouri, to keep them from eating from the Tree of Life. You see, had they eaten from the Tree of Life, they would have become immortal, which is different from having eternal life, and their immortality would have prevented them from following Heavenly Father’s plan.

Heavenly Father’s plan is for the earth to be a state of preparation for eternal life with Him. Additionally, the earth is required for persons to have bodies, which is a higher state of being than mere spirits. Since God has a body, He wants his spirit-babies to have bodies as well.

One should note that since Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they and their offspring exist in a fallen state. But what is passed on to the offspring is the fallen state and not any particular sin. You see, every person is born (embodied) sinless, and remains sinless until they are eight years old. Once a person is eight years old, they are capable of sinning, since they are capable of understanding and making decisions.

So, now we have Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father watching over their newly embodied, fallen, spirit babies on the Earth Jesus created in accord with Heavenly Father’s plan, for which 2/3 of all existing entities, ever, voted. You’re probably thinking, “-J-, this all makes perfect sense, but I want to know about getting my own universe!” Patience. First, we have to talk about death!

Every embodied spirit-baby who lives upon the earth Jesus created shall eventually die physically. When the embodied spirit-baby physically dies, its body dies but its spirit goes on to the Spirit world. The Spirit World is sort of a waiting room wherein the spirit-babies wait for the final judgment. The Spirit world is divided into two sections: Paradise and Prison.

Paradise is a peaceful realm of the Spirit World wherein those who are faithful to Jesus wait for the final judgment. Prison is a realm of the Spirit world wherein the unfaithful, or those who did not know of Jesus, unhappily wait for judgment. One interesting feature of the Spirit World is that those who are in Paradise can travel to Prison and teach those who are in Prison about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I asked my Mormon friends if the spirit-babies in Prison are able to migrate up to Paradise from Prison if they repent. They said it would make sense for the spirit-babies to be able to migrate if they repent, but ultimately the answer is not known.

Once every spirit-baby has been embodied, lived upon the earth Jesus created, and died we move on to the resurrection and Final Judgment. At the resurrection, every spirit-baby shall be re-embodied. Then God shall cast the Final Judgment on all of his embodied spirit-babies. Depending on the life the embodied spirit-baby lived on earth, and what it did in the Spirit World, and whether it was baptized after death by a relative, that embodied spirit-baby will be placed in one of three Kingdoms of Glory, or cast into the outer darkness.

Celestial Kingdom: This is the Kingdom within which Heavenly Father and Christ reside. If you were awesome, you get to exist here.

Terrestrial Kingdom: Those who do not accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but were fairly nice, dwell here.

Telestial Kingdom: Those who do not repent and continually sin shall be placed here.

Outer Darkness: Those who, like Satan, know the full Gospel but deny it are cast into the outer darkness.

Here’s where the “I get my own universe” happens. Since we are all the offspring of Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father we are all brothers and sisters of Christ, who is also one of their offspring. All of those entities who are placed in the Celestial Kingdom are on the same level as Christ. Since Christ is a God, every spirit-baby in the Celestial Kingdom is also a God. Since Christ could create the earth and its universe, so too can any spirit-baby in the Celestial Kingdom create its own universe. Finally, since God wanted to enacted His own plan for His spirit-babies, and His spirit-babies are made in His image, each of these spirit-babies will want to create its own universe for its own spirit-babies.

So, if an embodied spirit-baby is placed within the Celestial Kingdom at Final Judgment, it has the ability to create its own universe and planets.

It’s just that simple.


One of the things I like about this story is that it takes seriously the familial structure of the God-Jesus-You narrative. God is the Holy Father. Jesus is God’s son. But we’re all God’s children. So, it doesn’t make sense to posit an ontological difference between Jesus and any of the other spirit-babies. Once we get that up and running, the “Your Own Universe” narrative follows fairly well.

Of course, that’s going to sound a lot like polytheism, insofar as any spirit-baby has the potential to be a God. The distinction they made is that they aren’t polytheists because they only believe in one Heavenly Father. However, they explained the trinity as three separate entities* that are “one in purpose”. My suspicion is that they’d be comfortable with the “polytheism” label if it didn’t come with all the baggage. Or maybe they’re monotheist because Heavenly Father is the one supreme God, and all the other Gods are little ‘g’ Gods? I’m not sure. That might be the question for next time.

I also like the distinction between “original sin” and “fallen nature”.

It's an interesting theological system, and it seems just as crazy as any other. So, I'm thinkin' about it...




* When Jesus was on the Cross, He called out to God. If Jesus was God, He wouldn't have needed to call anything out; one does not call things out to one's self. On this count, I think the "one in purpose" is a far more sensible articulation than "three forms of the same being SHUT UP".

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whitney Houston: Rest In Peace

I'm not sure how to say this.

I was watching Iron Man 2, tossing back far too many martinis, and checked Huffingtonpost.com to find that Whitney Houston had died.

We have a eulogy tag because we like to make little posts when people die. In the past they seem to have been merely the obligatory recognitions of the passing of yet another celebrity life. I mean, it was sad when George Carlin died, when Kurt Vonnegut died, because of the lasting impact they had on our developmental selves and their eternal influence upon our lives.

But the thought I have, that continues to reverberate in my reptilian brain, is that we've lost the woman who sang this:




That seems significant.

I'm not sure how you feel about music, how you consider its influence upon your life. But, take a moment to listen to that song...and at least try to appreciate the talent we've lost this day.



...




And then after you've had that emotional appreciation of the loss, listen to this wonderful young asian of excellent repute:



We're all replaceable....by androgynous asians.