The Good. The Bad. The Asinine.

Still not as dirty as the Bible

So it turns out that the German Catholic Church owns a company that has published over 2,500 erotic novels. Is it a cynical ploy to profit from the vile sins of the great unwashed? An ingenious form of market-making? The prudent minimisation of investment volatility via diversification? Or simply garden-variety Church hypocrisy?

Whatever it is, the story lines are a hoot. I managed to get my hands on a few of their best sellers.
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Missionary: Impossible
Allen and Doreen are a married Catholic couple from the suburbs. One night they try but fail to have passionless sex in the missionary position for the sole purpose of procreation.

Bill and Ted’s Sexcellent Adventure… of Sin
Bill and Ted have been friends for years. One day, after a tough gym session, they hit the sauna. Ted sneaks a peak at Billy’s willy and has an impure thought which we shan’t go into. After confession, Ted heads home to his wife and has passionless sex in the missionary position for the sole purpose of procreation.

Child’s Play
A strapping young man from the country resists the temptations of the village beauties, and commits himself to the priesthood. He takes up a position at the local Catholic school, which enables him to follow his true passion – children. He spends the next ten years being shuffled from parish to parish for completely legitimate reasons, before retiring to the Vatican, where he lives out his days making incense and enjoying diplomatic immunity.

Meaty Friday… of Sin
Tired of passionless sex in the missionary position for the sole purpose of procreation, George tries to convince his wife that she can eat his meat on Friday.

The Gift… of Sin
Phyllis is head of Embezzlement & Condom Destruction at the Vatican Bank. One day, a nasty Jesuit colleague gives her a dildo as a joke. Not realising the gift’s true potential, she mistakenly uses it as a door snake. This ends up saving her $15.30 on her energy bill, which gives her just enough joy to smile at her husband during passionless sex in the missionary position for the sole purpose of procreation.
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As good as these books are, though, I’m still not sure why they’re needed. There’s more than enough porn in the Bible.

BANNED!

Have you heard of Richard Dawkins? World famous evolutionary biologist? Prolific author, public speaker, and maker of numerous documentaries? Author of The God Delusion, a book that has sold over two million copies, and been translated into 31 languages?

Well of course you’ve heard of him. Apparently, however, not everyone has. Which, in a way, is perfectly fine (I’m sure there are plenty of famous people out there who I’ve never heard of. I’d give you some examples, but I’ve never heard of them).

What’s not so perfectly fine is when you haven’t heard of Dawkins, yet you hate atheists enough to ban one from your country club.

You see, Dawkins has a new book out called The Magic of Reality, and sub-titled “How we know what’s really true”. It’s essentially a science primer, aimed primarily at children and young adults, but suitable for adults as well. It does not promote atheism.

The Centre for Inquiry (CFI), being an organisation that “[fosters] a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values”, invited Dawkins to Michigan to talk about the book, and booked the Wyndgate Country Club in preparation.

Meanwhile, Dawkins appeared on The O’Reilly Factor, hosted by intellectual giant and staunch Christian Bill O’Reilly, to talk about his new book. Don’t know who Bill O’Reilly is? He’s the genius who came up with the famous, impossible-to-argue-against “Tides go in, tides go out” argument for theism:

Uh huh.

Oh, and this is revealing, too:

Predictably, O’Reilly had no interest in discussing the book, and insisted on talking about atheism instead. The good people at the Wyndgate saw the interview, realised their panties were in a massive bunch, and then cancelled CFI’s booking.

Nice.

Dawkins himself had this to say:

If the country club had said, ‘I’m not having Dawkins speak because he’s a Jew, or because he’s black, or because he’s gay,’ they would never get away with it.

I of course think it’s ridiculous that Dawkins was banned, but I don’t think the analogy he draws is quite right. There are absolutely no good reasons for banning someone from a venue simply because they are black, or a Jew – these are simply biological or cultural descriptors that have no real bearing on a person’s inherent worth. It makes as much sense to ban an amputee, or someone with a beard. There can, however, be some very good reasons for banning someone from your private venue because they are a purveyor of harmful or distasteful ideas. The only way I would allow a paedophile, racist or apocalyptic Christian homophobe to promote their “values” at my own venue, if I had one, would be if everyone in the audience was given a basket of things to throw at them as they spoke. Rocks, probably. Or maybe frozen poo (although that would create some interesting logistical problems).

Of course, atheism is nothing like paedophilia, or racism, or the death fetish and rampant bigotry of an apocalyptically-minded Christian homophobe. Not only is it about as benign an idea as you can get, but Dawkins was there to talk about his book. You know, the one that has nothing to do with promoting atheism.

So, Dawkins’ banning isn’t so much equivalent to the banning of a black person, as the banning of a Jain for discussing the benefits of exercise, which makes the management at the Wyngate not just malicious, but stupid.

Etiquette shmetiquette

Apparently Julia Gillard gave a small bow when she met the Queen, rather than a curtsey.

A curtsey? Are you serious? Why the hell should she curtsey? Why the hell should she even bow? If I was Julia I would have put up my paw for a big-ass high five (probably soon followed with “Don’t leave me hangin’, Liz”).

Honestly… being Australia, and the year 2011, this is neither the time nor place for arbitrarily defined limb movements required to appease the vanity of undeservedly rich old ladies. This is nothing against the Queen, mind you. I have no idea whether or not she expects a curtsey. But the apparent media furore is just ridiculous.

William Hanson, a “British etiquette and protocol expert”, had this to say:

The Queen tops her, the Queen is the top of the tree, so as a sign of respect, whatever her opinion on the monarchy is, she should have curtsied.

He went on to say that Julia was being a bit “churlish”, and “she should have worn a hat”.

Bullshit.

Firstly, the very fact that we need “etiquette and protocol experts” is a sure sign that etiquette and protocol is, quite simply, a load of crap. There has to be a good reason for doing something, apart from someone saying you should.

Secondly, if people are just allowed to invent arbitrary greeting standards, all because they happened to be born into a position of privilege, what’s to stop me from inventing my own? Yes… I think I will. From now on, if anyone wishes to speak to me, they must take a large breath of helium, shout “I am inferior!” as loudly as they can, and then slap themselves on the arse three times.

When you think about it, that’s just as ridiculous as a hat and a curtsey. But at least mine would make for good TV.

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