November 2006


A New World.
A New Word.

I am not an advocate of organized religion.  When I hear someone claim a belief in a personal god or that their sacred scripture is the one “true” scripture above all others, I am challenged not to ask, “Really? So you’re saying you’re just a little bit superstitious?”  But I don’t.  But we should.

Scriptures, n. The sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based.  —Ambrose Bierce

Every time, I mean every time I watch an Islamic demonstration on television I wonder where are the women?  I see thousands upon tens of thousands of outraged, ranting men but I never see a woman. Whether it be Iran or Iraq or Egypt or Syria, it is always a sea of shouting, deeply offended, testosterone-driven men wailing & railing about the incredible injustice of “it” all.

I am particularly intrigued by the parades of self-flagellating Muslim men who annually march up streets beating their backs bloody with whips.  I am unsure the specifics of why they must publicly demonstrate such self-punishment, only that they are driven, no doubt, by some inner religious fervor.  I am unimpressed.  Actually, its primitiveness is appalling.

It is apparent that much of the world, from a spiritual perspective, is governed by sacred texts drafted exclusively by men.  I cannot believe we would have the world we have today, if, say, the Bible had been written by women. For starters, women would not have been the property of males, “objects” to be handed-off from fathers to husbands.  But, I guess the times were different then, eh?  It begs the question of why then we give it credence today but I believe we know that answer.

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. —I Corinthians 14:34-35

All over the world, there are too many men in control of too many of our religions.  Catholicism is strictly and laughably a Boys-Only club. Management is restricted to celibate (allegedly), non-marrying males. How absolutely ludicrous is that?  It has been only of late that the mainstream Protestant faiths have allowed women into management.  And, gosh, look what happened, “You mean Gays are human, too?”  Ah, that slippery slope of compassion.

It's interesting to speculate how it developed that in two of the most anti-feminist institutions, the church and the law court, the men are wearing the dresses. —Flo Kennedy

I see little hope for the Muslim world for generations to come.  When half of their population is treated (by Western standards) as little more than chattel, well, how do you compete economically with one hand tied behind your back?  If half of your bright minds are prohibited by your male-centered religion from actively engaging in the world, I see third-world status as yours for the foreseeable future.

And what does the Christian God, the West’s sacred text say about the status of women: Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. —I Timothy 2:11-14

Oh, you’re just cherry-picking the Bible, Jepson! It ain’t like that! Really? God’s word was just God’s word once upon a time?  Is that it? Hmmm? If that is your argument, that times change and so, too, the word of God, well then, how about a major rewrite?

Man enjoys the great advantage of having a god endorse the code he writes; and since man exercises a sovereign authority over women it is especially fortunate that this authority has been vested in him by the Supreme Being. For the Jews, Mohammedans and Christians among others, man is master by divine right; the fear of God will therefore repress any impulse towards revolt in the downtrodden female. —Simone de Beauvoir

It’s time for a spiritual update.  This time let’s give the girls a crack at it.  It’s a new world out there! It’s way past time for a new word!

Reach Jepson at:
Jepson@MEDIAmerica.US

11.30.06
 

Forbidden Love

Brother, can you spare a dime?  How about a little DNA?  Oh, more bad news for those who believe God crafted man out of mud some 6, 643 years, 10 months, 14 days, 6 hours, 22 minutes ago.  No, it turns out even more provocative.  Scientists have for some time been asserting that Neanderthals quite probably lived at the same time as modern man.

It turns out our cousin, old Uncle Neandy, is approximately 99.5 percent identical to you or me, we modern humans. Two distinct research teams have assembled bits and pieces of the genetic code of a Neanderthal’s bone and have deduced Neanderthals and modern man hail from common ancestors but parted, evolutionarily speaking, some 450,000 years ago.

Here’s where it gets juicy.  As recently as 38,000 years ago modern man and Neanderthals were walking around the same habitat, say, northern Europe.  No one is suggesting, at this point, that they were best buddies, camping-out and everything, swapping (grunting) stories, working on joint cave painting endeavors. You know, starting the modern world. No, nothing quite like that.

Ah, but can romance be far behind.  One research team found the possibility of  “hanky-panky.” That modern man and Neanderthals were as they say, on occasion, uh, Biblical with one another. Ah, but there’s a rub.

I’m reading this information to my wife and before I can finish the article, she says, “It was modern man, not modern woman who slept with Neanderthals!”

And, you know what, she was right. It was human males and Neanderthal females and not the other way around.

My wife suggested, “Nothing has changed.”

Ha! Ha!  Too funny!

It’s the timeless indictment of men, as in males, that we will, shall we say, become, uh, one with anything that moves, even a Neanderthal.  Oh my.

In defense of my sex, I have to plead extenuating circumstances. Perhaps, it was dark. Perhaps, it was the accidental ingestion of fermented panther “piss” or just a case of mistaken identity. I mean, experience one sloped-headed Neanderthal, you’ve seen them all.  Or, maybe he was a long way from home.  And so very, very lonely. You know, a hill or two away.  Besides, it was only that one time. And he only called her “Wild Thing” once.  With no real affection. I’m sure.

So nothing has changed, huh?  That men will sleep with anything, even something as lowly as an available sub-species.  I’ll bet you anything, she wasn’t as they say, “Easy!”

Well, what about that dainty shoe on the other foot?

I am reminded of the oh, so familiar story of the prominent older businessman (and much noted weasel), a genuine gazillionaire who was at a party and was introduced to Miss Honeyed Loins, a statuesque type, the basic big breasted breeder model and later, after the marriage ceremony and honeymoon, Mr. Big Bucks says to the press, in a dazed state of elation, “I have no idea what she saw in me.”

You have no idea what Miss Opportunity saw in you? Really.  Really?  How about a meal ticket?  How about that phenomenally big, sexy bulge in your back pocket?  Your wallet, you pompous fool.  No, no, she saw this selfish cretin as having a heart of gold. Too funny.

Some men will sleep with anything.  Some women will sleep with anything.  Such a timeless and time-honored tradition.

But what about when it’s strictly peer to peer and the peers are well off.  In the November 19th New York Times Magazine is an article on the wealthy marrying the wealthy and what the ramifications are for America. That men and women are choosing one another on the basis of their high earning power and their lofty educations.

The upwardly mobile and connected woman is more than ever weighing in on exactly what she wants in her wealthy, educated mate.  Sociologist Julie Press is quoted in The Journal of Marriage and Family on the evolving criteria for women.  They want, “Cute butts and housework—that is, a man with an appealing physique and a willingness to wash dishes.”

Who says we haven’t evolved?     C’mon!

I close with a quote by Maurice Chevalier, “Many a man (woman) has fallen in love with a girl (boy) in a light so dim he (she) would not have chosen a suit by it.

Which explains that forbidden love (modern male & Neanderthal woman) oh, so many eons ago.  It was dark. I was confused. Sound familiar?

Happy Turkey Day!

Reach Jepson at:Jepson@MEDIAmerica.US

11.23.06
 

Deliverance.

As despondent as Republicans might be over last Tuesday’s mid-term election results, Democrats are downright giddy.  The gap between each party’s true-blue faithful is wider than what I believe is reported.  Quite candidly, I do not know what the common ground might be when one party is composed of a majority who “know” the unsaved are going directly to hell and the opposition who are convinced that believers of such nonsense are dumber than a box of rocks.

Hopefully, the common ground is America.  We’ll see.

It has been particularly challenging for Democrats to have won the 2000 Presidential election, only to have the will of the people annulled by, what is it Republicans so rabidly deplore, oh, yes, of course, an interventionist court.  Hmmm?

Democrats were further frustrated by the 2002 and 2004 elections.  For many Democrats, the entire Bush presidency, right or wrong, has a certain hollow illegitimacy about it. Couple that with the tragedy of 9-11 and where President Bush has taken America these past six long years, well, to many it’s been a lifetime in the wilderness.

America has experienced an administration that eagerly replaced fact with superstition when making public policy health decisions and malignantly and falsely manipulated science for the benefit of corporate and religious interests. 

America waged war predicated on lies and manipulated assumptions, weakening the nation and destroying what good will we had among the world’s peoples. 

At a time of burgeoning budget deficits and astronomical national debt, this administration myopically cut taxes, disproportionately favoring America’s top one-half of one percent of taxpayers. One of America’s prominent billionaires, Warren Buffet, publicly criticized such Republican largesse as, “unnecessary.”

And yet as late as election day morning, I remained unconvinced that enough Americans felt as I—that Karl Rove, that Republican cancer on America’s body politic, would again muddy the waters and divide the nation (The Gays are coming!  The Gays are coming!) and keep Republican majorities in Congress.

As the results rolled in and it became clear that the House of Representatives would return to Democratic control, I breathed a cautious sigh of relief.  The television networks were much more reserved in their declarations this year, of who would win office based on actual voter exit polls. But then the Senate races started turning Democrat and I was unabashedly gleeful.  Rove & Bush repudiated.

An unfortunate irony for many Central Florida Democrats is that they actually voted for only one successful candidate, Alex Sinc. Our joy had to come from applauding national Democratic Party results.

So much of life has this wonderful serendipitous quality to it.  My tendency is have several TV programs going simultaneously and around midnight as I assessed election results, I started watching the 1972 movie Deliverance, too.  Starring Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight and Ned Beatty, it has one of my favorite movie lines of all time, “Can you squeal like a pig?”

In case you are unfamiliar with Deliverance, it’s the ultimate weekend canoe trip from hell where Ned Beatty’s character is, uh, shall we say, humiliated in the worst way. He’s stripped naked of his clothes and terrorized by a filthy, near toothless “hillbilly” type who slaps and rolls him around and finally makes him (use your imagination here) squeal like a pig. It ain’t pretty.

Over the years, “Can you squeal like a pig,” has laughingly worked its way into my lexicon of “timely” expressions.

So, when I tuned into Deliverance after midnight I announced to myself that I was only staying up until I heard those fateful words.

Switching back and forth between MSNBC and Deliverance, I saw the Senate races tightening and finally it was down to Montana and Virginia with Democrats leading in both.

And then I heard those immortal words, thought fondly of Karl Rove and went to bed.

Reach Jepson at:
Jepson@MEDIAmerica.US

11.16.06
 

 

Coming Home
To What?

As I write this on Tuesday, November 7th, it is being reported by the national media that congressional races are tightening up all over the country.  Races where Democrats had been leading by double digits have become all of a sudden, competitive as—“Republicans are coming home.”

The following column will be potpourri of thoughts concerning this year’s mid-term elections.

I have to ask the question: What exactly are Republicans coming home to?  And where have they been?  Oh, out. That’s as good an explanation as to where Republicans have been as any—they’ve been out. Out-of-control. Out-to-lunch.  I guess just plain out-of-it will do.

But I’ll ask it again; what are Republicans coming home to?  Oh, let’s see.  An abominable Republican war of choice. That’s Iraq in case your head’s been too spun by the No Spin Zone. Record deficits.  Record indebtedness.  Record numbers of maimed and mutilated soldiers. Gosh, quite a homecoming.

So, why, pray tell, would anyone return home to that?  Because of Gay Marriage?  Because Democrats might support Gay adoption?  Because Bill Clinton had, oh my gawd, sex in the White House and lied about it. Surprised Golleeee Gomer! Imagine lies coming from the White House? Because Republicans are the party of family values?  Best exemplified today by ex-Congressman Mark Foley and conservative evangelist Ted Haggard. I guess it’s a return home to hypocrisy.  

Each year Republican fund raisers beat the bushes for money.  They raise incredible sums to pour into elections to ensure their agenda of low tax rates for the wealthy. Money mouth That is the agenda, is it not?  If that is all one is interested in—low taxes—well, I just might vote Republican, too.

Record amounts of money are raised from the rich for the rich. Give money to make money.  That is the way our government works.  

Okay, but I can see that Republicans have a growing problem in their closets and money just might be their, uh, salvation.  Just like a certain big church that has an habitual “bad boy” problem, Republicans do, too.  Is Mark Foley the tip of the, uh, iceberg?  And, now yet another prominent conservative has ur, hmmm, uh, a problem with boys, as in Pastor Haggard’s case. Nasty drugs, too. Well, I’ve a solution.  Wink

A named chair.  Like at a prestigious college or medical school.  Only it would be a named rehabilitation (Re-hab) bed. The Mark Foley Memorial Bed! Republicans could raise money for a fully-funded, year-around-available “bed” at a treatment center for hypocritical, closeted Gay Republicans. Mark Foley goes in.  Mark Foley comes out. Ted Haggard goes in.  Ted Haggard comes out. And it would be ready, year-around for when the next homophobe-of-a-homosexual Republican is caught il flagrante.

Or, perhaps, it would be more of an interventionist approach, not so much a coming out party, but a stuff-it-back-in-the-bottle, my goodness, how naughty little ol’ me strayed, I’m not really, really like that, it was the darkside sort of a sin-spin of a treatment center.   That might go down easier.  Hmmm?

Regardless, a $5 million endowment would fund such a needed bed for wayward Republicans. And what a relief to those yet to accept their “sexuality” or their “sin.”

And, if one bed proves insufficient to the need, it proves to be an epidemic, well, send out the Bush Rangers to raise the party standard. They’re the paradigm of Republican manhood, no doubt, capable of rising to any challenge. But enough seriousness.

I have absolutely no confidence, on a Tuesday morning, that Democrats will regain either the House or the Senate.  More than ever, we need a Congress to serve as an effective counter, a reasoned check and balance to a run-amuck executive branch. In no way, shape or form can the nation afford another two years of President Bush unchecked.  It has proven too expensive, in life and in lucre.

But, go on home.  Back to the Party. Vote your conscience. There are much bigger moral fish to fry than a tragic war of choice with all the unanticipated blowback, death and mayhem.  Sure, there were lies and, goodness knows, the planning of the occupation sure was bad but, but Gays might want to adopt children and you know the abomination that would be. I mean, really, where’s the morality in that?

I agree with H.L. Mencken when he said, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”  

Can we all say, “Amen.”

Reach Jepson at:
Jepson@MEDIAmerica.US

11.11.06