Monday, June 22, 2009

new blog for old stories

Many of my regular visitors have given a glance at my old ugly geocities site which features fragments of my creative writing. It seems that Yahoo is closing down geocities later this year, so to save my imaginative progeny, as well as to present them anew and more attractively, I have created an ancillary blog, frammenti e rovine. I will add one story/fragment to the blog at a time, starting with The Fog. My plan is to canibalize the old site, but who knows? New creations may appear. Enjoy.

Monday, June 15, 2009

big things going down in Iran

Medieval Persian miniature.

Big things going down in Iran. As I write this, thousands have gathered in Tehran to an officially banned protest at which Mousavi and Khatami have called for new elections. There are reports of violence and apparently plainclothes police and Ahmadinejad supporters (there are a lot of them and they are thugs) have brutally beaten Mousavi supporters in the streets. Meanwhile, at 9:00 pm last night, Mousavi supporters registered their protest by shouting Allahu Akbar from the rooftops -- apparently something that was done in the 1979 revolution.

The supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, apparently the person ultimately behind the election fraud (though some suggest it was orchestrated by more secular elements in the army and the police) initially declared Ahmadinejad the winner, but today he has agreed to look into allegations of voter fraud. This could either be a trick to lessen the intensity of the protests, or it could be evidence of disagreement within the clerical hierarchy.

People across the world have been asked to wear green today in support of the protesters.

The government successfully shut down Facebook and text-messaging, which have been powerful tools in organizing popular protests, so this time the revolution is on Twitter. There is an English language twitter feed you can check out (#iranelection). Andrew Sullivan is also following things closely, as are the Huffington Post and The Lede Blog at the NY Times.

Pray for the Iranian people.

Friday, June 05, 2009

our lady of firearms

Let's see... no, no guns

So, a Kentucky pastor is inviting his flock to bring their guns to church (H/T Andrew Sullivan). Says our pistol-packin' man of God, Ken Pagano,
As a Christian pastor I believe that without a deep-seeded belief in God and firearms that this country would not be here.
Well. This is the type of story in which reality outpaces parody. The jokes write themselves and it is impossible to tell whether we're reading the Times or the Onion.

The obvious question to pose here, of course, is whether or not it is really appropriate to celebrate instruments of death in a church whose founder preached love and nonviolence (how many people die from gun violence in this country every year? 30,000?). Going more deeply into the story reveals how strange the extreme religious right in this country is in their approach to reality, and how much issues that have at first sight very little to do with religion become sacralized for these people. I disagree with the right-wing's approach to abortion laws and gay marriage, but I see where it comes from. People like Pastor Pagano, however, speak about issues like gun ownership and (I suppose) tax relief as if they were as deeply rooted in Christian scripture as questions more obviously concerned with morality. Fundamentalist religious ideas have had great impact on the GOP platform, and it seems that the GOP platform has become enshrined in toto in church.

The distrubing gun fetishism that makes the NRA so powerful has become part of what passes for liturgy in Pastor Pagano's church. This man, the pastor of a Christian church, seems to put belief in God on the same plane as gun ownership (so much for sola fide) and tie both inimately to one particular country when considering how worship is to be carried out for his congregation. "Without a deep-seeded belief in God and firearms..." A deep-seeded belief in firearms?

Strange. And very, very disturbing.