I honestly don’t understand George W. Bush.
According to the Drudge Report, he’s about to make a proposal that the U.S. will “halt greenhouse gas rise by 2025.”
Since he’s a lame duck and what he’s proposing is nigh unto impossible, I doubt he will be successful. And since the people who buy into this crap – the Philips of the world – are going to continue to hate him regardless of what he does, I don’t understand why he’s doing it. If he truly believes in it, then where was he seven years ago when he – wisely, in my opinion – yanked the US out of the Kyoto Treaty? Does he believe it or doesn’t he? He loses either way.
I get the impression from this kind of nonsense that Bush occasionally chooses to do things in order to deliberately offend people. This has been the most successful aspect of his second term. Unfortunately, he’s running out of people to offend.
Bill Maher is saying nasty things about the Pope and the Catholic Church, comparing Catholicism to the FLDS folks and essentially labeling both organizations as “cults.”
I learned long ago that the word “cult” is entirely useless, because, in practice, it now has no objective definition. It used to have reference to any religion and was essentially a measure of size – i.e. a cult is “a small group of religious followers.” In today’s vernacular, though, the word “cult” is reserved for spurious or unorthodox religions that deserve scorn and ridicule. Bill Maher ironically hearkens back to the traditional sociological definition when he uses the term, since, to him, the only difference between run-of-the-mill cults and the Catholic Church is one of size. “If you have a few hundred followers, and you let some of them molest children, they call you a cult leader,” he says. “If you have a billion, they call you ‘Pope.’ “
I can think of a number of things I’d like to call Bill Maher, and, like the word “cult,” none of them are very nice. Except namecalling reveals nothing about your target and reveals everything about you. People who throw the word “cult” around with regularity and think they’re saying something factual are simply telling you which religions they don’t like.
The best and most useful definition of “cult” came from my brilliant high school government teacher, Lee Shagin, who put it thusly:
“A cult is someone else’s religion.”
Dr. Walter Martin, arguably the most influentially vitriolic critic of the LDS Church in the 20th Century, wrote a book titled “The Kingdom of the Cults” in which he derided several different groups that went afoul of his thinking of what Christianity ought to be. However, in order to begin mudslinging at all the cults he despised, he had to have an ironclad definition of same to anchor the discussion.
The problem was that every part of Martin’s definition could also be applied to early Christianity. All cults, according to Martin, follow a charismatic leader and insist that they’re the only way to heaven. They require sacrifices; they have their own vocabulary. Sounds like he’s describing all those folks following Jesus of Nazareth circa 33 AD. Martin spewed an awful lot of words in an attempt to clarify what a cult is, but ultimately, Lee Shagin’s definition is the better one.
But back to Bill Maher. He thinks the Catholicism is a cult. Since Maher has no religion, it’s not surprising that he thinks so little of someone else’s. Whereas I think, personally, that Bill Maher is a jerk. Nyah nya ne nyah nyah.
Glad we had this useless little exchange.
What was interesting about Mariah Carey as the mentor on last night’s American Idol was that Carey is one of the few mentors who could actually win American Idol. Dolly Parton, mentor from a couple weeks back, wouldn’t make it past the audition round.
Carey is doubtless a fantastic singer, but as a songwriter, there’s just not much there. The reason the boys did so much better than the girls was that they did weird things to forgettable songs – except frontrunner David Archuleta, who’s straightforward rendition of “When You Believe” was technically proficient but kind of boring, really. Jason Castro – who looks EXACTLY like John Travolta – was much more fun, and, while I also enjoyed David Cook’s moody, emo version of “Always Be My Baby,” I’m continually amazed that the judges applaud him for taking risks while never noticing that he keeps taking the SAME risk – his emo “ABMB” from last night is interchangeable with his emo “Billie Jean” and his emo “Eleanor Rigby” and his emo “Hello.” When he takes a different risk, like he did with last week’s “Give Back” hand thing, he looks silly. And could he take a risk and comb his stinkin’ hair?
The girls were all pretty lousy, but I was very glad that Carly covered up her grotesque tattoos. Brooke’s unplugged “Hero” was probably the worst of the lot, but I’ll bet Syesha gets sent home tonight.
In the end, it’s all moot. If David Archuleta doesn’t win it all, I’ll eat my hat. I don’t have a hat, but that’s beside the point, as I won’t be called upon to eat it.