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Saturday, March 10, 2018


I am sooooooooo jealous of this guy.

How wrong would it be to chuck the fight and just spend the rest of one's days contemplating the higher things in life? I wouldn't mind giving it all up. Maybe I could devote my time to reading about New Testament scholarship. Or watching porn. It's all good.

Hilariously, the world of Trump overlaps the world of porn but not the world of New Testament scholarship. I love Bill Maher's line: "Who are you going to trust -- the fake blonde with big tits? Or Stormy Daniels?"
There was 60 Minutes segment a few years ago about a monastery in Greece that had been there for hundreds of years. The monks spent their lives in prayer and meditation. When the Nazis took over Greece they reached an accommodation which allowed them to continue while not interacting with the Nazis. It seems to me that is not what religion is about. Becoming a New Testament scholar is a fine idea, but religion should encourage us to engage with the world, not escape from it. Tilting at windmills may ultimately be futile, but it is better than ignoring them.
Ignore political reality at your own risk. Being 'apolitical' seems attractive on the surface. When the NSDAP won a plurality (never a majority) in government, they muscled their way to unfettered power. After that, anyone (including ethnic Germans/Austrians) not on board with their vision for a 'City on the Hill' (in this case, to be called Welthauptstadt Germania) was brutally beaten to death or shot and tossed into a mass grave/ditch. And by comparison to the fiery inferno deaths, the vivisection deaths (at the hands of warped souls like Dr. Aribert Heim aka. Dr. Death), the suffocating and defecating naked deaths in the 'shower rooms' of the concentration camps, etc. Being beaten to death or shot into a ditch is comparatively merciful.

If we ignore the Trumpists, we risk a similar fate.

"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

Fuck Trump. Fuck Salvini. Fuck Le Pen. Fuck Alex Jones. Fuck Carl Benjamin (aka. Sargon of Akkad). Fuck Black Pigeon Speaks (whoever this anonymous NeoNazi fucker is). Fuck Milo Hanrahan (aka. Milo Yiannopoulos). Oh and Fuck Vlad Putin too.

These men are some of the most evil men to ever walk upon this Earth. And that's not hyperbole.
Okay, small-j joseph, I realize that the idea of New Testament scholarship might not be your own cup of tea. (Although, as you know, Jews have made important contributions to that field of study.) (Come to think of it, they started it.) I'm sure you understand that most scholars trying to dope out the "Who wrote the gospels?" question are not themselves religious. But who can resist the world's greatest literary puzzle?

Let's put that ambition to one side. Is there anything in the Talmud that would speak to a man who, having lost faith in his ability to do anything to improve a mad world, decides to spend his remaining years watching porn?

I'm visualizing a monastery in Greece where the monks, in their search for transcendent wisdom, tune into PornHub 24/7. If such an institution does not yet exist, perhaps we could get it going. You in...?
Actually I am quite interested in the origin and development of all religions. Although I am not a Karaite Jew, I think they are probably right about the origin of the Talmud (I don't think Karaites are direct descendants of the Sadducees but cam about in the 8th century c.e. An interesting Sunday question might be "What became of the Sadducees?) Anyway, there is an interesting Hasidic story addressing you question. A student goes to his Rabbi and says, "I have studied and studied and am thoroughly depressed and confused. I don't know why I'm here, I don't know what I'm doing and I don't even know it there is a God." The Rabbi answers, "I understand, when I was your age, I felt the same way. Come let us study together." Which tells us that wherever we are, someone has been there before, that togetherness is the key, and that study answers many questions. But study without real life application, Tikkun Olam, is meningless.
From the Department of Jack of All Trades.
Tried to read that NYT article but my handheld device kept scrolling to the bottom of the page. An apt metaphor for the New York Times, reporting on a lot of news, none of it well.
Joseph, I had a week of this last week. Took off for spring break (my wife works for the local school, so had off). Usually when I'm off I avoid facebook, blogs, news, etc. It's incredibly refreshing, frankly, and lowers my stress levels considerably. However, I don't think I would want to do it full time. I don't think that is being a responsible citizen. A few times a year though, I find it very helpful to shut out the world and focus on my interests and relationships (particularly in our current situation, I find I need to do this for a day or so almost every week).
Joseph,I wish you would allow yourself to take a break. Instead of compulsively reporting on every twitch and jiggle of the Trump story that does not deserve your talents, indulge a bigger-picture view.

Specifically, I would appreciate your majestic perspective and super-heroic research skills to provide some commentary regarding the upcoming 50th anniversaries of the assassinations of Dr. King and of RFK.

I am the only true anon; pay no attention to those imposters
Anon, you talked me into it. I'm doubling down on the fight against Trump. You've reminded me that this is THE fight of my life, and there is no excuse for shirking this duty for even one day.

(The best way to make me go blind is to tell me NOT to look directly into the sun.)
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