Saturday, December 27, 2014

Snap Out Of It, Jordan Klepper!

Snap Out Of It is a segment on the Sacred Cow Wursthaus podcast where I tell people who should be on the freethinking side, but somehow aren't, to snap out of it and get their act together.

Some background info:  Jordan Klepper did a skit three weeks ago on the Daily Show in which he chided Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation for scolding a restaurant called Mary's Gourmet Diner.  Mary's, it turns out, had previously been offering a 15% discount for publicly praying before eating the meal, and FFRF quite rightly cried foul over it, sending them a threatening letter.  It seems the restaurant might not have been quite so discriminatory, as the discount also was offered for other things.  Still, Mary's quickly capitulated, and FFRF recommended that all its members patronize Mary's Diner afterwards.  Still, the story went viral.  Jordan Klepper took this and, after a two-hour interview in which he ground Dan Barker down, edited out all but the silliest bits from the interview and made Dan Barker look incredibly foolish.  He strongly felt that sending a harsh letter to a small diner threatening suit over atheists' "civil rights" was an egregious overreach.  Well, that's fine, but Jordan was in a glass house throwing stones.

Now, I subsequently called this a "wake up call" on the Sacred Cow Wursthaus podcast, mostly because the Daily Show is hardly Fox news!  And it's true that we as atheists need to change our tactics and abandon the bullheaded Madalyn Murray O'Hare approach to litigation.  Still, if FFRF overreached, Jordan Klepper did so even worse, both with Dan Barker and especially so on the skit he did the following week.  Hence the tirade below, which I will be reading live on the podcast today.  Here you go:

"This week I'm telling YOU to snap out of it, Jordan Klepper!  Yes, I somewhat took your side on last week’s podcast when I called your fake news segment about Mary’s Gourmet Diner a wake-up call, but your subsequent installments on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart have convinced me that you are not the moralist you make yourself out to be.  Like the skit you did the following week where you defended the civil rights of people dressed up as Santa Claus to get drunk and party during Santa Con in New York.  Yes, we get it: In the wake of so many news stories featuring cops killing blacks and not getting indicted, lesser civil rights struggles seem funny by comparison, and you’re cashing in on that.  But how can you call Dan Barker, a man who makes Fred Rodgers look mean by comparison, a “dick,” and a “petty asshole,” and then in your next segment, act like a drunken Santa Claus who stumbles into a daycare center and starts cursing and swearing at a bunch of kids!?  Jordan, you may insult a man whose organization overreached “petty,” but saying “Fuck you!” repeatedly to a room full of little kids is a new definition of low.  Even if it was done off-camera (which I very much doubt), it made you look a thousand times worse than Saddam Hussein, much less Dan Barker – a man who, by the way, is defending YOUR rights as an admitted fellow atheist, and to whom you owe a great deal of respect, even if his organization does overreach on occasion, which it does only rarely!  

"So, Mr. Fake News, we at the Sacred Cow Wursthaus take great pride in twisting up our locker-room towels and giving YOU a well-earned crack across your hyper-sensitive ass!  Jordan Klepper, SNAP OUT OF IT!"



No Santa Claus

Here's a re-post of a previous poem which I wrote, based off of the original C.C. Moore classic.  Although I originally wrote it to chide parents for lying to their kids about Santa, I have since softened my stance somewhat.  After all, kids need to know their parents aren't infallible.  It's a normal part of growing up. The Sacred Cow Wursthaus podcast will have a reading of this set to music, so don't forget to listen in. Enjoy!

An Account of No Visit by St. Nicholas
A poem by Eric Hildeman
(Borrowed from the work of Clement Clark Moore)

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
But that was to change before the night ended,
For none was asleep, every eyelid distended;
Our stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas might just soon be there;
But we three kids weren't quite so nestled in our beds,
For visions of espionage danced in our heads;
Tonight we would learn, for once and for all,
Whether Santa was real, or if there was none at all;
And see for ourselves if reindeer could fly,
In defiance of gravity across the night sky.
Brother and sister in their sleepers, and I in my cap,
Had convinced mom and pop we were taking our nap;
When out in the den there arose such a clatter,
We sprang up from our beds to see what was the matter.
Away to the stairwell we flew in a flash,
Sliding down the floorboards, and avoiding a crash.
Peering over the railing at the lit tree aglow,
Gave the lustre of mid-day to the objects below;
And what to our wondering sight should appear,
But a very distinct absence of eight tiny reindeer.
Our parents were wrapping presents so lively and quick,
That we knew in a moment there was no St. Nick.
More rapid than bullets the revelations they came:
All costumes and lies, and a legendary name.
And if all these lessons had come now to naught,
What other things were false that we'd been taught?
Those things which we'd thought so sure and so brazen,
Could they be lies too? Could God? Could Satan?
We spoke not a word, but stared straight at this work,
When mom and pop suddenly turned ‘round with a jerk;
My baby little sister, that jolly little elf,
Had laughed when she saw this, in spite of herself.
The glint in pop’s eye and the tilt of his head,
Soon let us kids know we had plenty to dread!
Pop clenched up his fist out in front of his nose,
And giving a nod, to the stairwell he rose.
He sprang up the stairs, to my team I gave a whistle,
And away we all flew like the down of a thistle.
Back down the hallway the courses we flew,
At our heels, the bogus St. Nicholas, too.
More rapid than eagles his courses they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called us by name;
"You doggone kids! You'd just better run!
You've spoiled our secret! You've ruined our fun!”
And hearing these words while running down the hall,
We dashed away, dashed away, dashed away all!
When back in the bedroom I spun back around,
Bro' and Sis' landed back into bed with a bound.
Our pursuer had stopped, leaving us dumbfounded,
’Till we all slowly realized we were certainly grounded.
Though no permanent scars did we receive that Christmas night,
We emerged more confused about what was wrong and what was right.
In the years that followed, in teenage vice,
We listened more to peers than to parents' advice.
And one more lesson that night we were taught:
It’s all right to lie, if you just don't get caught;
Or if certain situations will justify,
The certain variety or use of the lie.
'Tis a difficult problem, and a peculiar plight,

But still....

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Charlie Sykes Misses The Mark

Two weeks ago, SWiFT, the Southeast Wisconsin Freethinkers, of whom I am a member, worked in collaboration with American Atheists to put up a provocative billboard for the holidays.  For those who missed it, here's what the billboard looked like:

Charlie Sykes, the premier talking head on the 3-time Marconi Award winning local radio station WTMJ, which monopolizes all sporting events, as well as news, traffic and snow-closings, had this to say about the billboard after he ranked it #3 on his weekly "Deep Tunnel" awards:

"Hey, we get that atheists don't believe in God and don't celebrate Christmas, but you know, Christians don't put up billboards mocking their darkened, soulless beliefs.  So my advice to atheists is..." [And here he plays his sound clip of a man screaming, 'Shut up! Shut up! Shut! Up!'  Followed by the sound of a toilet flushing.]

Well, in the words of an old commercial for Starkist Tuna, "Sorry, Charlie!"  First off, atheists DO celebrate Christmas.  Only a small percentage of us choose not to, and they are usually chided by their fellow unbelievers for being sticks-in-the-mud.  But more importantly, it is simply, empirically FALSE that Christians don't put up billboards mocking atheists "beliefs." (He meant so say, 'lack of beliefs,' I'm sure.) So, to help set Charlie straight, here is just a small sample of the many anti-atheist billboards out there, not including the ones currently visible from I-894 and I-94 in Waukesha:

There was one more which I mentioned on the Sacred Cow Wursthaus podcast, which featured Jeffrey Dahmer, but that billboard illegally used the copyrighted trademarks of the American Humanist Association and Planned Parenthood, and so the image has been removed from the Internet.

So to you, Charlie, I give my own award: The Whoopie-Cushion Award!