Gray Flannel Dwarf


Thug Life.

Hm.. looks like the Baltimore Ravens are vying heavily for that coveted “Bad Boys of Sports” title. I guess that’s okay… the Dallas Cowboys have held that title long enough…

cswiii @ 5:52 pm

Movie Critics are not Theologians.

Today, Mel Gibson’s (in)famous movie opens in theatres, The Passion of The Christ. Obviously I haven’t seen it, yet. The movie may well warrant criticism, I do not know.

What continually annoys me, though, is to see these news anchors interview other newspeople or movie critics, and ask them theological questions regarding the history of the crucifixion.

Movie critics are not usually theologians nor Bible scholars, and I’ve seen two very fine examples of this in the past week. I can’t remember which the first one was; it was on Fox News or MSNBC, I think. I watched them ask questions to some talking head who’d just gotten out of the theatre… and watched this woman field questions about which she obviously knew nothing. Credit to her, however, is that she at least knew how to pronounce the term “Aramaic”, which wasn’t the case for the newcaster.

Last night’s example, however, was even more fitting. Paula Zahn had some movie critic on, talking about the accuracy of the movie. This guy proceeded to ramble on about some pretty incorrect assumptions. He mentioned that Pontius Pilate was this big, bad voodoo daddy that the locals, mostly Jews, feared. He said that the Jews were terribly persecuted under Pilate. Basically, the point he was trying to make was that the movie might have been pinning more than a fair share of blame on the Jews, as opposed to Pilate.

Hold on, hold on! Step off your high horse, man! Let’s look at some more accurate historical assessments!

* Under the Roman empire itself, the Jews were not “terribly persecuted” — at least, not a lot more than those of other cultures and religions that had been conquered by the Romans. The Roman empire had a specific policy of tolerance, and would not punish religions, per say, unless they interfered with state matters.

* That is not to say that Herod, the King of Judea, per Roman appointment, wasn’t cruel. there is plenty of historical evidence to support this. During his reign over Judea, Herod had tens of thousands of Jews slaughtered; of this, there is no disagreement. However, in Jesus’ case, Herod wasn’t simply going to kill someone off for the sake of “having the opportunity” to kill a Jew. Herod had more important things to do, and besides, what good would this serve? Besides, why would Herod, with his history of cruelty to the Jewish people, suddenly appease them? He was well-aware of their mutual (and well-placed) distaste for him, and knew that nothing could make him any more “honourable” in their eyes. Finally, Herod was a political opportunist — if it wouldn’t go to further cement his power base — why trifle with it?

* Now, if I am not mistaken, Pilate, on the other hand, was not a particularly powerful “governor”. That term is a bit confusing today, if people associate it with the modern concept… but Pilate was something of a “City Manager”, maybe a bit higher. He dealt with the administration of the region. The people under him didn’t particularly “fear” him. I am thinking that the movie critic from above was confusing Pilate with Herod, who was pretty cruel all around. Regardless, Pilate wasn’t a terrible force with which to be reckoned.

* In the district where Jesus was taken before the people, the Saducees were in power; For a local government, it was pretty powerful religious aristocracy that was in charge. They did not have the specific power to execute a man for a crime, however, which is why Jesus’ case was taken up the chain of command, to Pilate and Herod. The idea that Jesus was a “dangerous political activist” was the key claim that was made, so that the higher levels of government would even entertain it. If it was just some religious oddball, Rome, or its subordinates, would have little to say.

* The act of crucifixion in Rome was reserved for non-Roman citizens. Romans could be, and were, put to death via any number of methods, sure, but this most brutal method of punishment was never used on any person considered a citizen under the Roman empire. Thus, the punishment given to Jesus was done against Roman precedent and was, indeed, done with a fair amount of hesitation.

* All this said, Pilate was plenty hesitant to crucify this man, which is why, in a wishy-washy manner he (wrongly) brought Jesus before the court of public opinion. It should be noted that more evidence of religious toleration, particularly Jewish, can be found in his actions of bringing Jesus to the people; when Pilate brought him before the crowds, it was a recognition of the Passover tradition of letting one prisoner go free. Regardless, he left Jesus’ fate in the hands of the crowd, rather than commute this sentence of death that he knew was unjust. In the extended portion of this entry below, I have included the synaptic Gospels’ version of Pilate’s exchange with the people.

Finally, simply put, the “blame”, as it were, for Jesus’ crucifixion spreads far and wide. The crowd called out for his death, and Pilate bowed to public pressures rather than doing the honourable thing. But to say that either Pilate or Herod were sole or joint catalysts for Jesus’ death, as this movie critic was implying is downright incorrect. As it stood, neither Herod nor Pilate had much at stake in getting rid of this guy. Now, the historicity of the Bible is debated by many, and probably will be for eternity, but, assuming Gibson was trying to emulate The Passion, using the Biblical texts below, I don’t really see how making Pilate out to be any more “to blame” would be any more accurate, given the perspective.

Until I see the movie, I can’t make my own assessment of how it handled these issues, but my (rather long) point in illustrating the above ideas is that TV personalities keep interviewing people who are obviously pretty lacking in knowledge, when it comes to theology or Biblical study, yet they are being treated as scholars in such. They are asking these people “what the Bible says”, and how it compares to the movie, and thus are getting totally incorrect answers which just furthers misunderstanding amongst everyone!

Sometimes I wish TV news anchors just could just buy a clue, but I am not sure where the blame lay. Anchors? they’re probably just asking questions? What about the people who scheduled the interview? Didn’t they do any research?

This line of blame keeps going… and can go right up to the heads of the news organisations, as far as I’m concerned.

cswiii @ 11:14 am


“You’re a Liar and You’re Boring” (Henry Rollins)

Vanity Fair: “John Ashcroft’s Patriot Games
Mother Jones: “The Lie Factory”

Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 12:57 pm


Schwarzenegger Weighs In.

Regardless of one’s opinions on the matter, I guess it’s interesting to see that Ah-nuld has weighed in. on the matter, saying that SF’s gay marriages are illegal.

Then again, it really doesn’t surprise me, this coming from a man who didn’t used to let his wife wear pants.

cswiii @ 9:49 am


SCOX and Lehman Brothers: A Wall Street Wake-Up Call?

Ok, so there’s always been the paranoid supposition — or not even necessarily paranoid, but a wary realisation — that financial institutions wield great power regarding the movement of securities, currencies, even entire economies. Should one not consider this possible, one should merely read Jim Cramer (Confessions of a Wall Street Addict) or Tom Friedman (The Lexus and the Olive Tree) to find fine examples of how this happens. Be it vengeful, a wake-up call, or just a side-effect, it’s happened, and it can be done.

This said… for a long time, the Street has been pretty darn kind to SCOX. However, now that it’s public knowledge that SCO has rebuffed one of Wall Street’s own, what are the chances that SCOX and that pond scum CEO might get rocked a bit?

I dunno how possible it is, seeing as SCOX is so thinly traded, but it’s an interesting theory I’d like to notate, should it occur.

On a somewhat related note, it’s my opinion that Rob “vroom vroom” Enderle should cut the crap, get outta IT analysis and into critique of the newest issues of Hot Rod magazine as they come out. At least then, maybe his love for the “WAV file of a Ferrari race car revving its engine” would be a bit more appropriate.

cswiii @ 12:40 pm

“…A Cellular Mesh of Lies” (Jack Kerouac)

So it looks like my mobile provider will be going the way of the little orange guy soon. Not sure what I think of this. I’ve heard of a lot of people who have had problems with both ATTWS and Cingular — then again, I hear about that with every mobile phone provider. Personally, I’ve had fewer problems with ATTWS, in most respects, than with any other provider I’ve had… specifically Verizon and Nextel.

At very least, I think this would mean that I’ll get better coverage than before. We’ll see what happens.

cswiii @ 9:45 am


Disappointed with your “Little Caesar”?”

Proof that God is a dude: Nothin’ says lovin’ like a pizza in the oven.

Now if they’d just hurry up and start putting male contraceptives in beer, we’d be set.

cswiii @ 4:08 pm


CLAIM vs. FACT: The President on Meet the Press

cswiii @ 1:14 pm

For Chrissake! :P

MONTREAL (Reuters) – Crossing the U.S.-Canada border to go to church on a Sunday cost a U.S. citizen $10,000 for breaching Washington’s tough new security rules.


(Full article saved below.)

cswiii @ 12:57 pm


The once and future… Firefox?

<mij^> wtf, mozilla changed firebird's name again
<mij^> it's now firefox
<sethk> what!?
<sethk> are they trying to screw up their own productization or something?
<sethk> to avoid overlap with another open-source project, hrm
<chaley> firebird firefox thunderbird wtf?
? chaley/#whiteboard head spins
<chaley> since firebird (or firefox or whatever-the-fuck) started as mozilla minus all the crap, it should be called "mo"
<sethk> heh
<ibri> thanks Unfurl
<epw> or less_zilla
<chaley> would it be lesszilla or fewerzilla ?
<chaley> or lessismorezilla
<mij^> stopchangingyourfuckingnamezilla
<Bill> Wait... Firefox was that lame movie with Clint Eastwood.
<xPhase> what are you talking about, firefox was the greatest movie of all time!
<xPhase> (or something completely unlike that)
<Unfurl> fox force five?
<mij^> heh
<sethk> shoink!
<teedz> fox as in it's a sexy browser, force, as in it's a force for IE to reckon with and five, as in we'll change our name one, two, three, four, five times before 1.0 is released
<chaley> LOL
<Unfurl> teedz: hahah

Tags: , , , , , , — cswiii @ 11:32 pm


Rude Virginians

From the #clark04 IRC channel.

<TA4Clark> I have had it with calling people in VA
<Snowbunny> why...are they rude
<WESandWH> i didnt get to meet him unfortunitly
<TA4Clark> faifax is a snody town
<WESandWH> but i was in reaching distance
<TA4Clark> rude
<Snowbunny> he is a great guy...and he has a very firm but gentle handshake
<FrostSage_Arkansas> why is faifax snody?
<TA4Clark> "thank you for remind me of the primary and my polling place and I will NOT vote nor consider your candidate"

Now, for all you people who think I am overreacting, regarding my opinions just how much Northern Virginians is just a loosely-knit collection of uppity dicks, maybe this will be a bit of an eye-opener. :(

cswiii @ 1:02 am


Everything Old is New Again.

The song was a soulful limerick from the “Purple Rain” days of Prince, whose voraciously fey Jheri-Curl Lothario act worked its spell even on the most suburban set. It was, at the time, the dirtiest song we knew.

Way back when, my aunt dubbed Purple Rain for me. Man, I forget how old I was, but it must have been around third grade, because I remember listening to this bad quality tape (it was recorded, literally, from one boom box to a tape recorder, over open air) in my friends basement, in the old neighbourhood.
During those years, I thought it was “master bedroom in a magazine”. I thought she was flipping through an old issue of Home and Gardens, or something, from the lobby. :D

Tags: , , — cswiii @ 9:42 am