The Lonely Goatherd Blog And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats - Matthew 25:32
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July 21, 2008
For starters, I'm obviously a racist. You can tell it because I used B Hussein Obama's middle name. That's pretty much evidence enough in some quarters. But if pronouncing his whole legal name is racist, then what about this image from The New Yorker and cartoonist Barry Blitt?
First, that's a beautiful image. Mr Blitt boiled a whole bunch of impressions, misimpressions, suspicions, blind internet rumors and just all round crazy conspiratorial nonsense into one beautifully detailed image. I just love how many layers of meaning come out of this one image, all the ways it was intended vs how it will be purposely or accidentially misinterpreted by others.
For starters, the basic intent of the magazine and cartoonist is fairly obvious and clear, and just as they will explain it if you ask: They are satirizing and mocking right wing and conspiracy nut types for their ridiculous and unfounded harsh opinions about Michelle and Barack Hussein Obama.
That's pretty straightforward. Pretty much everyone seems to get that point, but some good liberals still object, on grounds that maybe the hicks won't get that they're being mocked and take it at face value. In short, we're smart enough to understand, but this image is bad because the hicks might not be hip enough to get it.
Then there's the Obama campaign, which gets to pretend at being hurt. Spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement: "The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Sen. Obama's right-wing critics have tried to create. But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree."
John McCain had to get in on clucking his tongue a bit as well. McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said: "We completely agree with the Obama campaign, it’s tasteless and offensive." But then, McCain's people have probably the most legitimate excuse for wanting to go out of their way to not be associated with any of this.
All of the offended parties get the joke, but then so do most of us red state crackers. I haven't seen any indication that anyone did not get the satirical intent of the damn picture.
But what's interesting to me in all this is how this image seems to substantially innoculate the Obamas from a lot of serious and in some cases totally appropriate criticism or skepticism. Anyone who has concerns or objections to the Obamas that could even be broadly characterized to fit within that caricature of racist rightwing paranoia is, well, a dirty rightwing racist.
Consider to that end the image of Barack dressed as a Muslim. Obviously Barack Obama is not a practicing Muslim. He's an avowed Christian, whatever you may think of the pastor that brought him into the fold. You're pretty much of an idiot if you insist on thinking that he's a super secret Muslim, or took his oath as senator on a Koran. Shut up already, damn.
But then there are lots of perfectly reasonable and relevant concerns and uncertainty about Barack Obama's religious beliefs. Does he believe in American exceptionalism, as do most people, or what. He's got close Muslim relatives, and apparently spent at least a little time in mosque growing up - not that there's anything wrong with that.
But how much does he really believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ? With his Muslim background and non-believing left wing intellectual mom and his elitist Ivy League degrees, he mostly comes across as an aloof sophisticated multicultural secularist carefully mixing in some half-assed extremely watered down black preacher shtick for the boobs. After all, religion is something that poor dumb misguided bitter voters cling to, as he famously said in the San Francisco "bitter" remarks. For better or worse, you know that Dubya really does believe in Jesus - but does Barack really believe that Jesus rose from the dead?
Does Barack really believe in Christ, or is he a secular Ivy League multiculturalist who would view Islam as an equally valid and beautiful cultural expression? Answers to questions like that seem quite valid and relevant to me, things that might well would impact how I might vote. I would NOT be inclined to look favorably on a US presidential candidate who would see such equivalence. This of course makes ME the goat, one of them there racist conspiracy mongering nutjobs like they made fun of on that famous cover of The New Yorker. (Do you remember The New Yorker? This is a story about The New Yorker.)
See how that works? All kinds of perfectly reasonable questions and objections get bunched together in disrepute, all package-dealed into ridicule with the most ridiculous possible uninformed opinion that sounds the least bit like it.
Likewise, I'm sure that Michelle Obama has never literally burned a US flag. But she sure does manage to come off sounding pretty anti-American at times, with complaints about America being "mean" and only ever being proud of America as an adult when they began voting for her husband for president. I don't know that those comments from the missus would be a major determinant of my vote, but those harsh words for her countrymen do weigh a point or two against Barack for choosing a person with such views as his soulmate. This of course makes me equivalently ridiculous as those dumb rednecks they satirized at The New Yorker who insist that Michelle is burning flags and such.
Plus, there's the stupid people who think the Obamas are black radicals, who think Michelle Obama is some Angela Davis character, like depicted in The New Yorker. Man are they dumb. That presumably includes particularly everyone who for some crazy no doubt dishonest reason want to hold Obama's association with Weather Underground founder Bill Ayers against him. So here I am, the goat again. (Hey, that could be my epitaph.)
Umm, roasted goathead! A tasty anthropological field report from the Accordian Cowboy:
I am proud to say I witnessed a passel of Greeks roast both whole lamb and goat (aka "devil-lamb") on 2 spits for my girlfriend's Easter family celebration. The style is to cleave the whole lamb/goat off the spit when done, then family members eat immediately, grabbing hunks of roasted flesh from cleaved parts and bones, hot off the roasted carcass.
Higher status males ceremonially eat the head parts, with the bravest eating 1 or both eyes from the freshly hacked skull. I was an honored guest, being that I held (and took a bite of) the goat head. I left the eyes to the ethnic Hellenics.
Of course I asked about ritual slaughter, but no go: Whole lamb and goat come from the Greek butcher. "We're not like that crazy Santeria bullshit", said one. :)
Sananda Maitreya on goats Quote o' the day comes from Sananda Maitreya, the artist formerly known as Terence Trent D'Arby and as a man not safe to leave with your women or livestock, who says. "The last 4 rows of the plane are reserved for people flying with their goats."
Gwen Stefani's "Wind It Up," Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The Lonely Goatherd" and the Profundity of Play
The hills of home are alive with the sound of the music of Gwen Stefani and Rodgers and Hammerstein. Her new dance hit "Wind It Up" plays off "The Lonely Goatherd" from The Sound of Music, and they've both been tickling my fancy right effectively through the recent Christmas season.
A Satanic Photo Gallery In the spirit of the Halloween season, I was hunting and gathering images of the devil aka Satan aka Lucifer aka Scratch. I don't know that I have any amazing fresh insights on Our Dark Lord. My main point here is to offer up some interesting images of the dark master as he's been imagined over time for your holiday meditations. Some of these I know a little about, some of them I don't know the background.
Let's start with this Gustave Dore image of Satan at the center of Cocytus, the ninth circle of Hell in Dante's Inferno.
I really dig this hot Satanic tango
Here's a nice classic representation of red Satan with horns and a pitchfork
Here's a vintage 1513 metal engraving of the Devil meeting the Knight of Death in the woods, or something like that.
One recurring idea of Satan involves him as representative of our more base low-level animal instincts. The prince of this world is thus often represented as some kind of animal, often goats- my favorite, naturally.
In Biblical lore, Lucifer was beautiful, and the devil is often now depicted as suave, good looking and seductive- "a man of wealth and taste," but historically these images of Satan as an ugly primitive beast were a common theme.
Part of those horrible animal instincts, of course, is sex. Sex is bad, m'kay? Satan is sometimes presented as a horny satyr. That temptation to sin naturally lends itself to representing the evil one as a seductive woman, such as in this Jenna Jameson devil costume.
Is it Dave Nalle? No, it's the ex-carny Anton Lavey. He liked to play on that sexy Satan idea. This seems pretty cheesy to me, but he had movie stars and such throwing themselves at him. It worked for him.
Another recurrent devil theme is the idea of Satan as a lost, suffering soul. Look at his anguish in these images.
Indeed, it appears in this image that Satan has been reduced to praying- though I wouldn't think he'd be expecting favors from God, what with that little trying to overthrow heaven thing and all.
Of course the fine, God-fearing and peace-loving folks of the Palestinian Authority recognize the real source of evil. written on the Jew's (Satan) abdomen: Israeli Colonialism The Pope says: "Peace on Earth" The Jew (Satan) answers: "Colonies on Earth" Front page cartoon in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, the official Palestinian Authority Daily March 22, 2000
These days, Western societies are much more secular, and less inclined to take Satan seriously. This 1960 Louvin Brothers album cover seems to be a popular image today in some quarters as kitsch, with the plywood devil and all.
Then again, when some event of human depravity slams us sufficiently, the old crazy Biblical stuff starts looking more reasonable. Surely Satan must have been behind such unbelievable wickedness as 9-11, right? Thus, there seem to be multiple examples around of people finding the face of Satan in smoke of the Twin Towers.
I really like The Weekly World News, because they're the only source you can count on to give you ALL the news- whether it's true or not. You might take this cover story about Satan being captured by US soldiers in Iraq as satiric of the kind of thinking that was producing stuff like the 9/11 image above.
Mostly though, us sophisticated moderns are more prone to cast Satan as a comic character, such as Jon Lovitz' characterization of him as the ultimate loser on Saturday Night Live, beaten in the People's Court.
For another approach, consider this camp Satanic cheerleaders movie.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone have made perhaps the best comic use of Satan though, starting as Saddam Hussein's fem homosexual lover in the South Park movie. I was especially pleased back in August to hear that US Marines guarding Hussein in Iraq have repeatedly forced him to watch the South Park movie, particularly the bedroom stuff.
Following the fem gay routine, notice how Satan's sitting here all knock-kneed like an anxious teenage girl waiting for a kiss from her date.
Just last week in episode 1011 "Hell on Earth" Satan (sans Hussein) threw a big Halloween party in his own honor, wanting it to be as as big as one of those ridiculous oversized Sweet 16 parties sometimes thrown for spoiled rich American teenage girls. Thus, it was only logical that Satan show up for his party in a Britney Spears schoolgirl costume.
Then you can get into all the incarnations of Satan in movies, from Al Pacino to George Burns- but that's starting something else entirely.
So let us close then with one such image from the best screen Satan ever, Walter Huston in The Devil and Daniel Webster. In this final image from the movie, he's lost Neighbor Stone's soul in court. Needing to get back on track, he's been consulting his little black book to see who's next on the list. Who could it be?