I’m already sick and tired of Facebook

I hope Facebook doesn’t become the standard bearer for Web 2.0, because I work for a Web 2.0 company, I like my job, and want to keep it.

Facebook sucks.

It is a better-designed version of MySpace that’s not crawling with illiterate teenagers (yet), with more toys.

Even those of us too-old-for-MySpace will get sick and tired of the games, quizzes, and that god-awful SuperPoke. You have to have the brain of a 4-year-old for the novelty of Facebook to not wear thin after a few weeks.

I personally joined the bandwagon when Facebook opened their API to third-party developers. There was a lot of hope this would unleash the creativity of hundreds of talented engineers who’d cobble together the solutions to all of our problems and display them in the form of a neat widget on our Facebook page.

Three months later, I’m unconvinced. I’ve taken a couple of quizzes, I’ve been superpoked more times than I care to mention, and the most useful thing I’ve partaken in is an email exchange with a friend with whom I used to communicate via…email.

That billion dollars that Yahoo offered the Facebook founders is starting to sound more and more generous.

The dark bleach, the fair tan. Everyone wants to look Brazilian.

The fact that the Indian version of Tom Cruise is pitching a skin-lightening cream, to help his darker brothers take on a Brahmin pallor, has been causing a stir in India.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who’s familiar with Indian, or just about any dark-skinned, culture, that a premium is paid for those who are fairer-skinned. I remember a Filipino friend told me that it’s common for people to ask “Is it light?” about a newborn baby, and in the Far East, women wear gloves and bonnets to protect their skin from the sun’s darkening power.

It’s no secret that among black women, too, lighter skin is a mark of beauty. Please let me know the next time a black male hip-hop artist or athlete settles down with a dark-skinned woman. I won’t hold my breath.

In contrast, among those with European ancestry, the trend tends towards the opposite. Whether it’s a tanning bed, a spray-on tan, or bronze-in-a-bottle, most Westerners want to take on a darker hue. In fact, I can only think of (white) emos and Goths as people who prefer to maintain a pale complexion.

Meanwhile, our friends in South America seem to be thrilled about their skin color. Well, at least those with predominantly-European heritage. Is it any mistake that the most popular supermodels of the past 10 years, with the exception of the odd German or Somali, is Brazilian?

Sure, gentlemen prefer blonds, and the pro-ana look apparently shows no signs of weakening, so there is still a sizeable Czech and Russian contingent as well.

But think about it: Gisele Bundchen and her sisters Alessandra Ambrosio, Adriana Lima and Izabel Goulart roll off my tongue and I am not all that familiar with the world of high fashion. All of them have nice warm, tan glows (and a couple look vaguely prepubescent). The list apparently is quite long.

So do Brazilians represent the zenith of beauty? Will we just end up bleaching or tanning ourselves to achieve that light-brown skin tone? Or do Brazilians’ middle-of-the-road color represent what humanity will look like with a few more centuries of intermixing?

“Bush is an idiot” jokes are the refuge of idiots

Yes, we all know that Georgie is stupid: he can’t pronounce foreign names, he seems ignorant of the dynamics and history that govern the political world, and mangles the English language. We’ve known pretty much all of this for about 7 years now.

Is anyone still in the dark about GWB’s intelligence? There is no way he’s even close to as intelligent as Bill Clinton (or his wife), and there’s a lot to be said for the importance of an intelligent president of the free world, but constantly harping about the man’s intelligence and his supposed likeness to a chimpanzee is truly beating a dead horse. Go ahead and make a joke, provided it’s a clever one and makes us laugh, but most of the bitching about his intelligence is devoid of wit and completely misses the point about why he’s been such a shitty president.

What bugs me the most about the “Bush is an idiot” jokes is the presumption that Bush’s main failing is his lack of MENSA-qualifying intelligence. Are you kidding me? Bush has many more, much more dangerous flaws that we should have been concerned with when we were busy calling him a moron.

First, Bush is an ideologue. This is, by far, his most dangerous failing, and blind allegiance to ideology is frankly the reason why far-left and far-right candidates never manage to be decent political leaders. Whether motivated by religious, apocalyptic or peacenik ideals of utopia, ideologues are convinced that just a few sweeping changes to the fundamental ways our societies are run will result in unending bliss and the end to all trouble, conflict and unhappiness. Reason, statistics, and history are meaningless to these people. Most also have an appalling understanding of economy and spending money’s no object when Shangri-La awaits. And, true to form, Bush has given up any sense of fiscal responsibility and given us the most bankrupt national budget we’ve ever had.

Second, Bush suffers from the Ivory Tower Syndrome. Having lived in the lap of luxury his entire life, Bush has never been exposed to people unlike him, he’s never had to truly struggle for what he wanted, and he’s never really had to face the consequences of his own failures. He’s lived in a protective bubble, coddled by his family and in the rarefied social stratum he’s lived in his entire life, he’s never met people who were not so lucky as to be born in the right family. It’s understandable, under these sorts of circumstances, to formulate policy on a simplistic form of meritocracy, with the assumption that there’s an even playing field, everyone plays nice, and people should be unboundedly optimistic because success is all around them. But policy from this point of view is naive, and perpetuates the almost caste-like structure of our society. A fundamental underpinning to the American Dream (social mobility) is slowly being destroyed. A recent study has proven that even Britain, famous for its rigid class structure, is now more socially mobile than America.

Third, Bush is arrogant. You can suffer from the Ivory Tower Syndrome and still be humble enough to admit you haven’t figured everything out. The late Brooke Astor comes to mind, but I’m sure there are countless others. But with Bush comes the hubris that he can do no wrong. He never questions his own decisions, even those with respect to whom he hires. There are quite a few aphorisms about the folly of arrogance that come to mind”most are unfortunately true and we’ve seen most played out in the last year or two in Bush. Americans are considered arrogant to begin with. To have a president that exemplifies that character flaw and projects it obnoxiously on the world stage just adds insult to injury.

Fourth, Bush is lazy. Policy decisions are deeply complex, and often require extensive, arduous analysis of studies, and plenty of vibrant debate. To sidestep the tremendous amount of work that goes into formulate optimal policy is just lazy. And to delegate decisions and work to your cabinet, election strategist and lobbyists is the sign that you’ve allowed a bunch of people with compromised interests to do your work for you.

All of this is important to understand, even though Bush has certainly lost his luster even among conservatives, and now that he can’t be reelected. He’s still in office for another 16 months. There’s still a lot of damage he could do to our country’s long-term interests. And it doesn’t help to undermine this very scary fact by painting him as a bumbling moron like Homer Simpson.

The situation for gays & lesbians is getting better

If you ask the average person if they think gays’ & lesbians’ well-being is getting better or worse nowadays, most will say worse.

To which I say: bullshit.

Keep in mind, I am gay, I do not think gays & lesbians enjoy equal rights, and I do think there is a lot of work still to be done for us to not be treated as second-class citizens and not to worry about our own safety.

But the overall trend is a positive one. Even after 6 1/2 years of the Bush administration (supposedly purveyors of homophobia), and over a decade of Republican control over Congress which ended only recently.

Think about it: most prominent Republicans won’t say something deeply insulting about gay people. Rick Santorum was roundly criticized by most people for making circumlocutory comparisons between gay people and animals. Even right-wingers, for the most part, kept their mouth shut. Twenty years ago, Santorum would’ve enjoyed far more support.

The fact that even a large number of conservative Republicans back civil unions for gays & lesbians is shocking, considering gays & lesbians were considered subhuman when I was a kid (and that was the 80s, folks). Sure, marriage is a sticking point, but I suspect that is a mental barrier that older generations will never truly accept because their opinions and perceptions have fossilized. I know for a fact that I would have difficulty referring to my partner as “my husband” – it just sounds strange to me.

More and more kids are coming out in high school. During the 80s, coming out in my large, urban high school would have been inviting daily death threats. Nowadays, teenagers in rural, remote high schools are coming out, and while they face harrassment, they enjoy far more support from many of their parents, peers and teachers. Again, when I was growing up, homosexuality was considered, at best, a form of mental illness, and worst, an evil that should be purged from the planet.

Gay visibility on TV and popular media is growing, although they tend to focus on annoying caricatures (think Chris Crocker, William Sledd, and Marc on Ugly Betty), but there are a few exceptions. Will (from Will & Grace) provided a more rounded, less stereotypical image of gay people. Ellen DeGeneres is liked and popular with her talk show (well, it doesn’t hurt that she’s blond and thin).

I was heartened to read that the audience listening to Iran’s Ahmadinejad’s speech at Columbia laughed loudly with derision at his claim that there are no gay people in Iran. Twenty years ago, they might have cooed with jealousy.

This is not to say that gays & lesbians have it easy, that we’re universally accepted, or that we enjoy the same rights and ability to pursue happiness as everyone else. We don’t. Clearly. And there are elements in the Bush administration and among the Republicans that are more than happy to exploit people’s homophobia to get an extra vote or two.

But the trend is in the right direction. The homophobia they’re exploiting is not as strong as it was even a decade ago.

It’s good to be upset by the way things are – dissatisfaction is one of the best motivators for change. But it’s not worth keeping yourself asleep at night, imagining things are truly going down the shithole, when a clean look at the way things really are suggests they are not.

What Europeans think of each other

This is a basic backgrounder for Americans, primarily, who might think Europeans do nothing all day but bitch about Americans. Don’t get me wrong—they do love bitching about Americans. But they also like bitching about each other, as well. Bordering countries, especially, have complex caricatures of each other, even when an outsider might think they’re more or less the same. The following is based on my numerous interactions with Europeans, having lived there for 4 years. Here’s a run down:

The French — Disliked by some Spanish (particularly the Catalonians), for being arrogant. One woman from Barcelona told me, “Come on, who really likes the French? Nobody!” The Swiss don’t like the fact that they have contempt for authority and are lazy. The Brits, of course, have the most mixed feelings about the French, though. One half the country hates them, the other half loves them. Those that hate the French tend to like the Americans, and vice versa. In the UK, they’re considered stinky, rude (they never line/queue up like decent people), and a bit yellow, based on their tendency to not fend off invaders like the Nazis.The French, in turn, dislike the British, look down on Belgians for being stupid, and don’t have much to say, in my experience, about Spaniards or Germans (oddly).

The Italians — Most of the stereotypes are positive, but mostly because of the food. Northern Europeans consider them lazy and flaky, and maybe incapable of managing anything right (mostly because of the 50+ governments they’ve had since WW2). One Dutch professor I had dismissed another Italian one, saying, “All the Italians care about are pasta and mamma.”Italians, in turn, don’t have strong feelings about other Europeans, but within Italy, the north-south divide is pretty strong. Northern Italians continuously complain that Southerners are lazy and unproductive, while Southerners complain that Northerners are devoid of culture or joie de vivre.

The Germans — Germans are considered industrious but uptight and humorless, by just about all the other Europeans. They know WW2 is a sore spot for them, so other Europeans will often mercilessly tease them about it. As much as Germany is considered an economic powerhouse, the vast majority of Europeans don’t really want to learn German or study there (or send their kids there to study). The food is considered uninspired, too, and only Berlin has some cachet among younger Europeans for its vibrant underground club scene. The most anti-German sentiments are among the Dutch and Danish, who just hate them from invading their countries too often. When German ask for directions in Holland, they’re usually given directions to the shortest way out of the country, or told “Give us back our bikes!”, a reference to the fact that Germans confiscated Dutch bicycles during WW2.Danes hate it when you pronounce their capital as “ko-pen-HAH-gen”, because this is the German pronunciation. Either pronounce it the English way (with “HAY” instead), or the Danish way, which is literally impossible to put down here.Germans tend to like their Western neighbors far more than they are liked by them, but they look down on their Eastern neighbors, particularly Poles. They, oddly, have some mixed respect for the Czechs, who have resisted German aggression.

The Scandinavians — Widely respected by most other Europeans, because of their high standard of living …and blond hair and blue eyes. However, within Scandinavia there are some persistent stereotypes. The Norwegians, Danes and Finns all think the Swedes are stupid and uptight. Norwegians are considered racist. Danes are considered more blunt than the others, maybe a bit more cranky, and the Finns are oddly introverted, even by Scandinavian standards. Except for the Danes really disliking Germans, and Finns really disliking Russians, they don’t really have anything against other Europeans.

The Belgians — Considered idiots by both the Dutch and the French. Belgians, in turn, consider the Dutch to be a bunch of cranky assholes, and French stuck-up.

The Dutch — The Dutch, like the Scandinavians, have an enviable economy and social order that’s admired by southern European countries. However, they do have a reputation of being self-righteous “know-it-alls” and very similar to their German cousins in terms of their rigidity. But they do not like any comparisons to Germans, and if you remind them that the Dutch national anthem makes a reference to the Dutch being “van Duitse bloed” (from German blood), you might quickly get the silent treatment. The Dutch are also disliked for being the biggest misers in Europe, and because of this they incur the wrath of the tourist industry wherever they travel. The Dutch have been known to stock up on water before they take their campers down to the south of France.The Dutch, in turn, kind of look down on just about everyone. Yes, there’s a bit of a reason for the “know-it-all” smart-ass reputation they have.

The Swiss — Considered extremely rigid, even by the Germans. Blunt to the point of being rude, the Swiss probably have the least likely reputation for being characterized as “friendly” or “warm”. Note that there is a big cultural divide between French-speaking Swiss, and the German-speaking Swiss. The former are almost exactly like the French, except having a blander cuisine and more respect for authority, the latter being more like the Germans except even more stiff, rigid and cranky. However, everyone knows Switzerland “works” so the fact that foreigners comprise 20% of the population (mostly from EU member states) should make this clear.Note that the German-speaking Swiss also speak their own variant of German, which sounds very strange if you’ve only been exposed to standard “hoch-Deutsch”.

The Spaniards — Honestly, very little antagonism against the Spanish or by the Spanish. No one really seems to dislike them, and they don’t seem to really dislike anyone else. (Yes, some Spaniards near the border to France don’t like the French very much) Not entirely sure why. However, God forbid you speak Spanish with a Latin American accent — there is still a lot of snobbery among Spaniards towards Latin Americans. Spaniards consider themselves white and European, and would be deeply insulted if you suggested they were Latin American of any kind.

The Greeks — Only nominally considered European by other Europeans, but the Greeks fiercely identify as European. Naturally, this is a huge irritant to Greeks.

The Poles — Not much seems to register about Poland and the Poles except that they’re quiet. They are a relatively big country (40 million people) so the supposed scare of being overrun by Eastern Europeans when a bunch of Eastern European countries joined the EU in 2005 focused in on the Poles. The Germans really don’t like Poles, and among Germany’s 9 neighbors, are disliked the most. Poland is considered a country of car thieves by the Germans. Really, the relationship between Germany and Poland is similar to that of the United States and Mexico, and often for many of the same reasons (differences in income, history of war, different languages, etc.).Poles really shore up their hatred for their eastern & southern neighbors, primarily Russia and Ukraine, although they don’t like Czechs, Slovaks or Lithuanians either. Oddly, they don’t really mind the Germans, and probably still fear them a bit — you never, ever hear jokes about Germans in Poland.

The Czechs — Considered a relatively bright spot of Eastern Europe by Western Europeans, but I think primarily because Prague is such a gorgeous city and a popular tourist destination. Czechs are a bit like Germans, though — a bit rude, blunt, and cold. Poles don’t have much good to say about them.

The Austrians — Considered a mix of the best & worst aspects of Germany and the Balkans, Austrians are considered laid-back but very nationalistic and racist. They’re said to be the birthplace of Hitler, but never came around to being fully apologetic about the Holocaust (unlike Germany). Neutral feelings from most ofWestern Europe, negative feelings from Germans (who consider them backwards, and not always the representing the best image of German-speaking people) and admired by Eastern Europeans (a throwback to the Hapsburgs).

The British – About half of the British would be really angry at being called European, so that should provide an apt starting point. The main beef with the Brits is that they’re considered the lapdog of the U.S., and are anti-European because the U.S. tells them to be so. They are considered polite, but maybe a bit two-faced (hence “Janus Britain”) and snobby. The Scots and Welsh are tolerated and liked, inasmuch as that no one really knows too much about them outside the UK, but the English are those that bear the brunt of negative sentiments among other Europeans. After all, London is in England.
The English also have a poor reputation in tourist traps, such as Amsterdam and Ibiza, for being loud-mouthed, obnoxious drunks.
The English, in turn, really seem to hate everyone. This is because it’s pretty hard to find an Englishman that has even, at best, neutral opinions about other Europeans (or Americans, or other nationalities). Europe is full of English expats, and the longer they live abroad, the more they seem to hate their host country. And yet they never seem to want to move home.

The Irish — A very small country, despite its exaggerated importance in Americans’ minds (just over 4.6 million in the Republic of Ireland) but considered polite and humble. They nominally dislike the English, but I have yet to meet an Irishman who really loathes the English. The sentiments towards the Irish and by the Irish seem to be positive, overall.
I personally don’t know much about how the Portuguese, Hungarians, Romanians, Bulgarians, and others are perceived, or how they perceive others, but if you have something to add, please do so in the comments below.

I’ll leave you with this poster I saw in an Italian office years ago, that helps sum it up in some ways:

In Heaven…

  • the mechanics are German
  • the chefs are French
  • the police are British
  • the lovers are Italian
  • and everything is organized by the Swiss.

In Hell…

  • the mechanics are French
  • the police are German
  • the chefs are British
  • the lovers are Swiss
  • and everything is organized by the Italians.

Update: Here’s my follow-up after this post got an avalanche of traffic and comments.

Another update: Here’s a related post on what Americans think about Europeans.

And another: 20 ways to slice up Europe.

Laurie David – a global warming leader (i.e. she contributes more to it than most)

Laurie David and environmentalist activists like her really annoy the shit out of me. Probably because I actually do care about the environment.

Ms David is yet another personality who is most famous for marrying rich and famous (in her case, the curmudgeonly Larry David, whom I like), but in order to inject some purpose in their otherwise pampered, empty lives, takes up a cause, and proceeds to ram it down everyone else’s throat.

In her case, it’s global warming. A curious choice, because it’s one where a person’s carbon footprint is in many ways directly proportional to their wealth. If you have a large house, a big, fast car, and money to take long-haul trips several times per month, you’re going to be creating far more CO2 than someone who can’t afford any of these things.

Still, just like John Robbins, the vegan heir to the Baskin-Robbins fortune who never eats ice cream, it’s not impossible to meet someone who lives the life of an ascete despite being fabulously wealthy.

That’s not Laurie David.

In addition to her family’s enormous home in Los Angeles, she destroyed some wetlands to build herself a carbon-belching McMansion in Martha’s Vineyard. Meanwhile, she racks up serious miles in her private planeeven though plane travel is worse than even driving.

Her solution? Drive hybrid cars. Here’s what rounds out her solution to a rapidly heating planet: “Of course, I’m obsessed with telling my kids, no long showers and don’t run the water too much when you brush your teeth. I always use both sides of the paper for printing and faxing. I recycle obsessively. And since I get a lot of clothes dry-cleaned, I take a garment bag to the dry cleaner so I don’t waste the disposable plastic covers.”

Wow, that’s some advice. It’s clear she’s taking global warming very seriously, so much as to actually make substantial changes to her lifestyle.

And then there’s the rampant hypocrisy. She says:

“I’m very confrontational … It’s gotten to the point where my kids in the back seat of my car see an SUV coming and they say, “Mommy, please! No! Don’t say anything!” They’re horrified. But I believe in peer pressure. Look how peer pressure has worked for people not wearing fur coats or smoking. We have to spread the message that it isn’t cool anymore.”

But then:

“Sure, I have a big house, but I use it to gather hundreds of people for eco-salons. That’s not to justify the size of it, but it does create opportunities to spread knowledge and raise money for the greater environmental good. Sure, I could always cut down on clothes and dry-cleaning, but the point is not necessarily what more you could do — we could all do more — the point is that we do our part. And even with the house and clothes, I think I can do, and am doing, my part.”

So, no tolerance for SUVs. But McMansions are okay – hell, have two of them, provided you hold eco-salons (WTF?) in them.

It’s apparent that the line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior is drawn conveniently where she arbitrarily chooses to live her life.

Anyway, people like her are all the more damaging because their wealth gives them a bully pulpit with which to make environmentalists look like a bunch of Pharisees.

I hope now that Laurie has ditched her pot of gold and started shacking up with a Republican in Martha’s Vineyard, that she can abandon any pretense of actually giving a shit about the environment and take up a different cause to give her life meaning.

Splitting the bill really sucks with some people

I have a friend who I love one-one-one and hate in groups. I’m sure most of you know what I’m talking about: great conversation partner, has great stories, but can not manage crowds. Small dinner parties send them into a nervous breakdown.

I also hate spending time with this friend in groups because her friends suck. I can usually get along with anyone, but probably because she’s a bit of a doormat, she attracts the dregs of society that no one else would dare beat with a long stick.

One of her friends, let’s call  him Doug, is probably the most selfish person you can possibly imagine. He literally acts like a 3-year-old, stamping his feet and crossing his arms, pouting, if he doesn’t get his way. I wish I were speaking metaphorically here, but I’m being far more literal than you could ever imagine. Unless you’ve met him. And then you’ll know exactly who Doug is.

So my friend has invited me to a small graduation party dinner and there’s no way I can get out of it. Another one of her friends has taken the initiative to email us to ask how we’ll split the bill and cover our friend’s part of the bill.

Doug, who might I mention weighs about 300 lbs and has a voracious appetite, suggested that we split the bill evenly “MINUS the beer, wine and alcohol”.

Did I mention that Doug doesn’t drink at all?

I’ve eaten out with Doug before. He orders a soup, a salad, an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert…all the most expensive things on the menu…and then he demands that we all split the bill evenly. Minus the alcohol.

I won’t do it again. I wrote an email back saying each person should be responsible for their own portion, plus their equal portion of our friend’s meal. I said I didn’t feel like subsidizing other attendees’ meals.

Silence after that.

Keep in mind that I don’t really give a fuck what any of these people think of me. Having them all tell my friend that I’m an inflexible piece of shit would be a dream come true. I’d get to spend time with my friend one-on-one and never have to spend another minute hearing about their dog delousing business or their next trip to a BDSM nature camp for lesbians.

That dinner’s coming up so if the consensus is to split the bill MINUS the alcohol, then you sure as hell bet I’ll be ordering everything on the damn menu. And taking what I don’t finish home in a doggy bag.

Watch me.

Richard Dawkins & Christopher Hitchens – cranky, bitchy atheists

Richard Dawkins must have gotten the shit kicked out of him as a kid. Because now, 60 years later, he’s coming out strong and hard against the religious, and he’s not taking bullshit from anybody.

I mean, I am an atheist(I’m Jewish now, but certainly not anti-atheist). I can easily understand the frustration he feels at religious people’s reliance on equal parts faith, deliberate suspension of reason, and sheer stupidity to maintain their beliefs. But he’s not winning any converts. I’d suspect most readers of his best-seller, The God Delusion, are already atheists.

And those few bible-beaters who read it (or at least buy it and flip through it) will just read it as an attack on their belief system. Remember, despite comprising about 75% of the country and completely dominating political discourse, Christians absolutely love portraying themselves as victims (martyrdom is such an important part of the Christian belief system). They really don’t need yet another reason to feel like an aggrieved minority when they’re clearly not.

At any rate, I cringed when I saw Dawkins squealing at that smarmy closet case and drug addict, Ted Haggard. How exactly did he expect Haggard to react? Did he expect an honest response from someone so deeply invested in a long string of myths?

Upton Sinclair said it’s difficult to get someone to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it.

Listening to Haggard, it’s obvious within seconds that he’s no intellectual giant. Posing polite but probing questions would have been enough to expose Haggard as a fraud to all but the most gullible.

Instead, Hawkins fell into that common British passive-aggressive trap, and began to snap at him testily after a string of flatteries. Was that really necessary? Do you bother getting in screaming matches with the homeless guy on the street corner that’s convinced you’re the ghost of Elvis?

Come on.

Similarly, Christopher Hitchens muddles his basic message that Jerry Falwell was a corrupt, completely disingenuous person, by calling Falwell “such a little toad”, “an evil old man”, and basically, an illiterate (among many other things). Saying that he couldn’t care less if Falwell’s family’s feelings were hurt by his harsh critique makes him sound an awful lot like…well, an evil old man. Petulantly steamrolling over Anderson Cooper and Alan Colmes, arguably sympathetic figures, doesn’t help strengthen his arguments either.

“How religion poisons everything”? Assholes poison everything. And yes, a lot of them, from Osama bin Laden to Jerry Falwell, face far less criticism than they deserve because people think they’re offending the religion and all their coreligionists if they call these guys what they are. But the point still is that a religion is just a bunch of stories until an asshole imbues them with hatred, destructive thinking and backwardness.

I mean, I understand these guys have books to sell, and I’m sure they’re worth buying and reading (I’ve read about half of The God Delusion, and found it somewhat well-reasoned and it gave me an occasional chuckle). And I know a little controversy will get you the bookings to engage on news channel talk shows that help drive up book sales.

Call me old-fashioned, though. I still think you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. And there might be far more honey-loving flies out there than either might think.

Male designers are not gay, they’re pedophiles

We all know that male fashion designers, with the odd exception or two, are typically gay. This is why they are said to favor androgynous female models, who are so anorexic so as to not have any visibly feminine characteristics (such as breasts, hips or a post-pubescent ass). I always thought this was strange, since, as a gay man, I’ve never been found any of these waifs even remotely attractive or in any way having any of the characteristics of the guys I’d like to bone. They’d have to be considerably more beefy and hairy for that.

However, this blog by a designer in Huffington Post really put it all together for me: male designers are not gay, they’re pedophiles. I mean, waifish female models do not look like men; they look like boys.

How else exactly can you explain it?

That the likes of Michael Kors, Karl Lagerfeld, and Hedi Slimane of being card-carrying members of NAMBLA is not what I’m saying. I’m saying that they haven’t gotten their cards yet, they’re in the mail.

I’m a gay guy, 100% sure of what I like to poke, and I’ve been dead sure since I was 17 years old. In other words, I have no need to pretend I’m married or that my boyfriend is “my business associate“. And maybe because I got some ass when I was a teenager, I’m not obsessed with boys that haven’t even sprouted pubes yet. Maybe these old closet-cases are just trying to recapture what they never had as youths.

At any rate, I guess it’s only fair that men will now be forced to starve themselves to look like the scrawny beanpole they hated looking like when they were in high school, just to wear high fashion. Women have had to forgo eating until their period stopped for a few decades now.

All so we can look like the sexual playthings of a bunch of perverts.

An atheist in support of religion

I am an atheist, yet I’m more than comfortable with the fact that most people in this country are God-fearing Christians. Why? “God-fearing” is a good thing for a person who has no innate sense of morality on his/her own. If they weren’t fearing retribution from God, some of these people would be committing all sorts of egregious crimes because they truly would have no idea that there was anything wrong with them.

I am always struck by a question posed by Christians to atheists: “But how do you know the difference between right and wrong?”

Yes, how do we know not to murder people, rape our neighbors, or steal from starving children if the Bible didn’t tell us these were bad?!

Jesus Christ! (pun very much intended)

The fact that you’d have to turn to a book for instructions on what seems to me to be a fundamental set of morals scares me. Maybe they need to follow “the Book”. If the Bible weren’t telling them that killing people was wrong, they’d be gunning down people they didn’t like. Or at least more than they already do.

The fact that a huge number of so-called Christians still violate so many basic teachings of Jesus, such as loving and tolerating people who are different from you, does not make me believe this any less. Without Christ, these naturally-born bigots would even be more violently intolerant towards things that are different from themselves. Religion provides a somewhat tenuous safeguard against the sorts of crimes they would commit otherwise.

I mean, imagine what Jerry Falwell would have been without having to at least pay lip service to Christ’s teachings!

Don’t get me wrong. I fully advocate atheism for rational, sensible people who have an innate sense of what’s right and wrong. The problem is that, it seems, you can’t make the assumption for everyone. And it seems those that gravitate towards religion the most strongly are those who are afraid of what their instinct would drive them to do if it weren’t for religion.

And I think we atheists should be afraid, too.

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